Coaches: Tro­jans are kings of the North

Buc­ca­neers, Bull­dogs, Lions all ex­pected to vie for the di­vi­sion ti­tle

Times-Record - - Sports - By DAVID INSLEY dins­ley@star­dem.com

Last sea­son, the Kent County High boys’ bas­ket­ball team was the odds-on fa­vorite to win the North Bay­side.

But along came Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester, which posted a 15-1 di­vi­sional record to take its first North ti­tle in eight years.

In 2016, the Vik­ings are re­build­ing. With point guard Naail Thomp­son hav­ing trans­ferred to Saints Peter and Paul, and need­ing to re­place grad­u­ates Ivan Tay­lor (cen­ter), Michael Richard­son (guard), and multi-tal­ent Dre Greene, head coach Vic Burns has plenty of work to do as his squad tries to re­peat.

The Vik­ings this sea­son have “very lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence,” ac­cord­ing to Burns, “but I was en­cour­aged when we played in the sum­mer league, be­ing able to com­pete with the North teams. We fin­ished run­ner-up in it, but I’ve got a lot of in­ex­pe­ri­ence. I’m hop­ing we’ll get bet­ter as the sea­son goes on.”

Kent County, re­turn­ing much of last sea­son’s of­fen­sive pop, is again atop the coaches’ col­lec­tive list as the North’s tough­est team.

“Kent’s re­turn­ing all those guys,” said Colonel Richard­son head coach Brad Plutschak, now the North’s long­est con­tin­u­ously ac­tive coach at 10 sea­sons. “And I hear they’ve got a fresh­man that’s pretty good, too.”

“From what I’ve seen, and from what I’ve been able to glean, I think Kent County is the team to beat up here this year,” Queen Anne’s County head coach Dale Be­craft said. “They’ve got a lot of tal­ent and they’re fast.”

North Dorch­ester head coach Robert Smith agreed.

“I’ve got to give it to Kent,” Smith said. “They’ve got Manny [Camper], and Mar­c­quan [Green] . ... Kent Is­land can sur­prise some peo­ple with Tariq [John­son]. He’s gonna have good role play­ers around him. …They should be a team to watch also.”

An­other team re­ceiv­ing buzz as a po­ten­tial dark horse is North Caro­line. Marty Bai­ley Sr. stepped down af­ter five sea­sons at the helm — and back came Steve Perry.

Perry, who led North Caro­line to North Bay­side ti­tles in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2010, and lost a coin flip to C-SD for the 2006 crown, won the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship in 2005 and 2009. Perry re­turns af­ter six sea­sons coach­ing at Sus­sex Tech. (Del.). With a ton of re­turn­ing tal­ent in the front and back, Perry and crew could do some real dam­age.

“Steve’s a great coach,” Park­side head coach Dave Byer said. “He’s good at get­ting his kids mo­ti­vated; he knows the game re­ally, re­ally well.”

Perry, ever hum­ble, de­flects when asked. “We’ll see,” Perry said when asked di­rectly. “All I know is, I’m ex­cited. The kids are ex­cited. Some of them have two years of var­sity ex­pe­ri­ence; I think we’ve got three or four of them.”

That ex­pe­ri­ence will be needed. The Class 2A Bull­dogs open at de­fend­ing 1A state champ Po­comoke Tues­day, host Kent County two nights later, and also face Eas­ton, C-SD, and Queen Anne’s be­fore the hol­i­days.

“If we come out of this Christ­mas break pretty good,” Perry said, “we’ll be in good shape.”

Kent Is­land, which lost point guard Frankie Kra­tovil and big man Ben Young, re­turns a group fea­tur­ing the ath­letic, fast John­son and a bevy of sup­port­ing stars. Queen Anne’s, ac­cord­ing to Be­craft, can show two main looks: big and able to dom­i­nate the paint, or fast with lots of shoot­ers.

While the Tro­jans will be pur­sued mostly by larger schools for the di­vi­sional crown, head coach Sobaye Scott is think­ing about the post­sea­son a lit­tle, say­ing he’s look­ing to “get the bad taste out of our mouths” af­ter an 80-62 play­off loss at Po­comoke last year in the 1A East Re­gion ti­tle game.

“That wasn’t any­where near how we wanted to end,” Scott said. “We knew how good Po­comoke was, how good they still are. But that game just was not us . ... And this year, we want to come back . ... I feel like that’s our real mis­sion, and we want to com­plete that mis­sion . ... This could be a state­ment year, but it all de­pends on what team comes out to play.”

Eas­ton, long a threat to win the di­vi­sion, can­not be counted out ei­ther, as it re­turns a good group and will be dan­ger­ous in al­most any venue.

Here’s how the MidShore’s 11 var­sity teams look as the sea­son be­gins. Two schools, Gun­ston and Saints Peter and Paul, have al­ready be­gun play.

Cam­bridge-SD

With only one re­turn­ing starter, se­nior 2-3 man Koby Jones com­ing back, Burns will have a se­nior-heavy team to rely on, al­beit one with lim­ited play­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

James Dixon, Kayshawn John­son, Ayam­bre Wongus, Dar­ius Wool­ford, Trey Board­ley, Jerry Wongus, Jaret Bromwell, and Dwayne Jones all are se­niors, but at this point, Burns is still up in the air about po­si­tions or who’ll start. Un­der­class­men in­clude Dale Seth, Tekhi Sey­more, Tranell Clan­ton, and Ke­shawn Pot­ter.

The Vik­ings host Sal­is­bury

School at 6:30 p.m. Mon­day.

Col. Richard­son

Plutschak wel­comes highly-touted fresh­man guard Diante Dick­er­son, the younger brother of 2015 North Bay­side Player of the Year David Dick­er­son, to the var­sity. Se­nior lead­er­ship will come from for­wards Eric Joseph, Cloder­son Charles, and Don­traye Bat­son. The ju­nior class is com­prised of guards Dar­rion Speller, Mar­cus John­son, An­thony Har­ris, Ka’Ron Raikes, Se­maj Mur­ray, and Ty’Mir Foster, with sopho­more point guard Jhaizhir Luke and shooter Lorenzo Turner also join­ing the team.

Colonel opens Tues­day at 5:30 p.m. at James M. Ben­nett.

Eas­ton

The War­riors re­turn ex­pe­ri­ence in ju­nior guard-for­wards Ryan Farr and Nasir South; se­niors Chris Guy at point and T.J. Nixon at power for­ward join sopho­more Jae­don Cop­per, who’ll post up, on the start­ing five.

In the 6-8 spots on the ros­ter are fresh­men Je­hiyah Brown and Mar­quii Thomp­son, and ju­nior Shane Potts. Jalen Green-Thomas, Corey Hall, Tim Jen­son, and Joseph Rivera also avail­able for sec­ond-year head coach Dionte Hyn­son. Eas­ton starts at Wash­ing­ton at 6:30 p.m. Tues­day.

Gun­ston School

The Herons are two games into their sea­son, hav­ing lost their opener against Faith Chris­tian Academy on Nov. 21, but top­ping West Not­ting­ham Academy, 51-41, on Fri­day to im­prove to 1-1.

Seventh-year head coach Dave Bol­yard’s crew in­cludes se­niors Evan Dono­hue (G) and Drew Hightower (F), ju­niors Rick Ar­cham­bault (F), Mitchell Nau­mann (F), Maix Wang (G), and Henry Parkhurst (G); sopho­more Ben McBride (F); and fresh­man guard Adam Ar­cham­bault, Rick’s younger brother.

The Herons, who play in the Eastern Shore In­de­pen­dent Ath­letic Con­fer­ence, play at home on Tues­day at 6:30 p.m. against St. Thomas Aquinas Academy.

Kent County

The three-headed beast of Mar­c­quan Green, 201516 Player of the Year Manny Camper, and She­mar Turner, se­niors all, will power the Bay­side’s north­ern­most team. Fresh­man phe­nom Jayshaun Freeman, who’s al­ready been seen in nu­mer­ous videos on­line show­ing off his wind­mill dunk­ing skills, is in the run­ning for the point guard po­si­tion. Class­mate Tyreek Valen­tine, al­ready 6-foot-6, is be­ing groomed as a post player.

Se­niors Ar­ling­ton John­son and Tyreke Demby and ju­niors Ar­ling­ton Wil­son and Wayne Whye add depth. Kent County opens at Wi­comico on Tues­day at 5:30 p.m.

Kent Is­land

Head coach Frank Kra­tovil’s sec­ond son to play high school var­sity un­der him, se­nior guard Jack­son, will join John­son, Dal­las Miller, and in­sid­ers David Bowen and John Van­wie in the start­ing lineup.

Ju­nior 4-5 man Ri­ley Dem­bowski looks to be the Bucs’ sixth man, who be­gin Wed­nes­day at 5:30 p.m. at Park­side in a re­match last sea­son’s down-to-the-wire sea­son opener.

Josh An­der­son along with fel­low guards Carl and Cameron Bouie and Selby Scaggs, last sea­son’s lead­ing scorer on ju­nior var­sity, will see time on the court.

North Caro­line

Perry is wel­comed back to the Dawg Pound by re­turn­ing ju­nior start­ing guards David Bai­ley and Joey Adams, and 6-5 cen­ter Ja’Mion Franklin, along with se­nior guard Tay Potts. Fresh­man Ken­dron Way­man, stand­ing 6-4, looks to be the start­ing power for­ward for Tues­day’s 5:30 p.m. opener at Po­comoke.

Fresh­man guard Mon­treyse Deshields might end up play­ing sixth-man, along with Mike Daniels, a trans­fer from New Jersey. Se­nior guard Rob­bie Blake­ley along­side ju­niors Eli Seth (SF), Cam­ron Brown (SF), Jaquan Mur­ray (G), and Jaden Fitch­ett (F/C) pro­vide Perry with op­tions.

North Dorch­ester

Smith’s Ea­gles open at Snow Hill at 5:30 p.m. Tues­day. A to­tal of 11 play­ers are on the open­ing-night ros­ter for ND.

Sopho­more point guard Dion­i­sio Polk will bring the ball down­court, with fresh­man Ja­heim Cop­per at two­guard, se­nior Dion Lofland in the small for­ward po­si­tion, ju­nior Ter­rell Cephas at the four-spot, and se­nior Jor­dan Smith at cen­ter.

Se­nior guard Tayvion Cham­bers along with ju­nior for­wards Tavon Wongus and By­ron Belin and guards Robert Colin and Davion Dock­ins will share time off the bench with fresh­man for­ward Gary Pledger.

Queen Anne’s

Be­craft’s pro­gram saw a to­tal turnout of around 60, giv­ing him enough play­ers for fresh­man, jayvee, and var­sity pro­grams. Se­nior point guard Mikey Mon­roe leads the var­sity. Class­mates Mike D’An­gelo and Charles Hin­son will see time at for­ward with post man Trent Riggs. Sopho­more Nick Dunkerly looks to be the start­ing shoot­ing guard, with combo-guard La­mont Downes, a se­nior, work­ing as sixth man.

Depth on the ros­ter in­cludes se­niors Aaron Rochester (SG), Austin Thomas (C), Mike Plow­den (G), Tyrik Brooks (G), Jameer Richard­son (G), ju­nior Seth Keller (C/F), and sopho­mores Mike Clay (SF) and Bran­don Peo­ples (Wing).

Queen Anne’s opens Tues­day at 5:30 p.m. at Mardela.

St. Michaels

The Saints wel­come new head coach Bruce Gun­son; the team won its scrim­mage Wed­nes­day against Wye River Up­per School.

Rather than fo­cus on in­di­vid­u­als, Gun­son is tak­ing a team ap­proach to the sea­son. St. Michaels opens Tues­day at 6:30 p.m. at Wash­ing­ton.

Sts. Peter and Paul

Jeff Hol­lis’s squad, which plays in the Mary­land In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion’s C Con­fer­ence, has al­ready be­gun its sea­son, with a non-con­fer­ence loss against A-league pow­er­house Boys’ Latin on Fri­day night.

The Sabres’ ros­ter in­cludes three ju­niors: two­guard Thomp­son, Tyreese Pur­nell, who trans­ferred from Park­side, and point man La­mont Pow­ell. Conor Mul­laney will play the three­spot, while se­nior Adam Alder­fer takes over in­side. The team also in­cludes ju­nior guard Owen Schroeder, se­nior guard Julius Rees, se­nior guard Adam Leis­ter, and se­nior Char­lie Man­gold, who broke his wrist re­cently but may be back later in the sea­son.

PHOTO BY DAVID INSLEY

North Caro­line’s Joey Adams passes the ball to team­mate Tay Potts dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter of Fri­day, Feb. 26, 2016’s play­off game at Kent Is­land High in Stevensville. Adams and Potts are back this sea­son to help guide the Class 2A Bull­dogs, who open the sea­son Tues­day on the road against de­fend­ing 1A State champ Po­comoke High.

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