Tigers look to overcome graduation of key players
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.”
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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.