Tigers look to over­come grad­u­a­tion of key play­ers

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By JOR­DAN SCHATZ

jschatz@ce­cil­whig.com

For a sec­ond-straight sea­son, Don Passenant is tasked with over­com­ing the grad­u­a­tion of sev­eral key con­trib­u­tors from the pre­vi­ous win­ter.

For­tu­nately for the thirdyear Ris­ing Sun coach, their re­place­ments are once again in the sys­tem.

The Tigers lost sev­eral se­niors to grad­u­a­tion, in­clud­ing All-County for­ward Will Far­ring­ton and hon­or­able men­tion re­cip­i­ent Noah Juer­gens, but the re­turn of Cur­tis Cox, a six-foot-six­inch se­nior center, and sev­eral other play­ers who saw plenty of min­utes last sea­son should al­low the Ce­cil squad to move for­ward with­out suf­fer­ing any set­backs.

Ris­ing Sun (11-12 over­all) is aim­ing for a higher fin­ish in the Susque­hanna Di­vi­sion and a deeper play­off run after it placed third in the lower di­vi­sion in 2015-16, be­fore fall­ing to Har­ford Tech in the 2A East Re­gion Sec­tion I semi­fi­nals.

“My re­turn­ing se­niors, I see them step­ping up,” Passenant said. “Some of them worked harder than usual this sum­mer and I see im­prove­ment. I think they’re go­ing to fill in those roles very well. I feel con­fi­dent that we have a lot of good play­ers and we could be even deeper than last year.”

Passenant hopes to take ad­van­tage of Cox’s strength and size in the paint, us- ing the big man to pro­duce points in­side and take pres­sure off the team’s out­side shoot­ers.

“I’ve seen a lot of im­prove­ment, just this year. His shot has im­proved and he goes to the hoop bet­ter. He’s also good at tak­ing in­struc­tion,” Passenant said of his start­ing center. “He’s re­ally im­por­tant be­cause we’re hop­ing to make our post game even bet­ter this year. We did do well from the perime­ter last year but I’m hop­ing that we get bet­ter play out of the post. For­wards Austin Newby and David Moore will also see more time on the court.

“I think we’ll still have that good perime­ter play but we need to com­bine it with good post play.”

In ad­di­tion to Cox, re­turn­ing se­nior guards Casey Baker and Cameron Alt­land will help an­chor the team and take over va­cant lead­er­ship roles.

Passenant hopes that the re­newed vet­eran pres­ence will help the Tigers con­tinue their suc­cess on the road after they won seven away from Ris­ing Sun last win­ter.

“This year, we have a 20game sched­ule but we only have eight games at home so we’re def­i­nitely go­ing to be road war­riors,” Passenant said. “No mat­ter where we play they’re not go­ing to let the crowd af­fect them. I tell them they should use the crowd to mo­ti­vate them, no mat­ter what side that crowd is root­ing for.”

Fol­low Jor­dan Schatz on Twit­ter: @Jor­dan Schatz

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Se­nior center Cur­tis Cox ( 50) will pro­vide vet­eran lead­er­ship for the Ris­ing Sun boys’ bas­ket­ball team, as well as a phys­i­cal pres­ence in the paint.

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