MISAL bas­ket­ball teams ready to go

Calver­ton is off and run­ning

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - By JOHN NISWANDER jniswan­[email protected]­news.com

While their pub­lic school coun­ter­parts get rolling with reg­u­lar sea­son play this week, a quar­tet of South­ern Mary­land pri­vate schools which play bas­ket­ball in the Metro In­de­pen­dent Schools Ath­letic League are al­ready un­der­way.

At The Calver­ton School in Calvert County, Jerome McArthur will lead the charge as the boys head coach after he was an as­sis­tant on the Cougars’ staff last year.

Calver­ton only grad­u­ated se­nior Bobby Claggett from last year’s team. Claggett was one of the Cougars’ most valu­able play­ers last sea­son along with Mau­r­tice New­some who re­turns for his sopho­more cam­paign.

“We have a re­ally young team that is very ca­pa­ble of com­pet­ing with top schools,” McArthur said.

The Cougars are de­ter­mined to have a break­through sea­son after win­ning just one game last sea­son with a care­fully crafted ros­ter that in­cludes the team’s

lead­ing scorer from a year ago in New­some.

“I would like our record to be a lot bet­ter than it was last year and I be­lieve we will see that change this year. The team this year has been put to­gether by plan­ning and hard work,” McArthur said.

Calver­ton be­gan the 2018-19 sea­son with a third-place fin­ish at the Rosedale Bap­tist School Tip-Off Tour­na­ment in Bal­ti­more and took its record to 4-1 with an 81-71 over School With­out Walls of Wash­ing­ton, D.C., on Tues­day night.

“I want this group to com­pete and this school will soon be talked about in ref­er­ence to the bas­ket­ball pro­gram. We have kids com­ing here to play be­cause of the tal­ent they see The Calver­ton School has been able to se­curely lately,” McArthur said. “We have sev­eral needs we need to ad­dress, but our core is young and I see a bright fu­ture with the team we have now. I want my play­ers to grow and de­velop as a team and push each other to get bet­ter as time goes on. I would like peo­ple in the com­mu­nity to come check out the new-look­ing Calver­ton team and just come watch the Cougars play a fast-paced, ag­gres­sive style of play bas­ket­ball.”

Calver­ton’s girls team (3-0 so far this sea­son) will be led by head coach Alante Pritch­ett.

“We’re young, most of our team are un­der­class­men,” Pritch­ett said. “Time is on our side.”

In Pritch­ett’s first year as head coach, the goal for the team is sim­ple.

“Our main goal for this sea­son is to com­pete. With so many young play­ers we will learn and be­come a grow­ing force day by day,” Pritch­ett said.

Pritch­ett noted some key play­ers to watch this sea­son will be re­turn­ing ju­nior Natalie O’Brien and two in­com­ing fresh­men, Calaya Hol­land and Anaysha Shahid.

“We do not have a ju­nior var­sity team this sea­son, so our var­sity ros­ter seats 13 girls that all play mul­ti­ple sports. Our start­ing five is com­posed of three ju­niors and two fresh­men,” Pritch­ett said. “O’Brien is ex­pected to carry the ma­jor­ity of the of­fen­sive load with sup­port from Hol­land and Shahid who both play ex­cep­tion­ally well at both ends of the court.”

Grace Chris­tian Academy in Charles County will only have a boys bas­ket­ball team this year.

John Stokes is the team’s new head coach, but he is fa­mil­iar with the pro­gram al­ready as he worked as an as­sis­tant on the staff last sea­son.

“We are look­ing to con­tinue to grow our bas­ket­ball pro­gram and have a win­ning sea­son,” Stokes said. “We want to cre­ate an at­mos­phere of in­tense de­fense, fast-paced of­fense and in­crease the level of com­pe­ti­tion we face through­out the year.”

Last sea­son, Grace fin­ished the sea­son with an over­all record of 15-13 and were the MISAL tour­na­ment run­ner-up after fall­ing to South­ern Mary­land Chris­tian Academy in the fi­nal.

Eight play­ers grad­u­ated from last year’s team, in­clud­ing All-MISAL first-teamer Kalvin Young and All-MISAL sec­ond-teamer John Stokes. The Knights look to fill those voids with a team full of young play­ers and coach Stokes is ex­cited to see what his young team can achieve this year.

“The guys are young and poised. They are ready to shake up the MISAL this year,” he said.

South­ern Mary­land Chris­tian, also in Charles County, will have a boys and girls team this sea­son.

David McGlone will be the coach for the Mus­tangs boys this sea­son.

“Over­all, we are re­build­ing after a strong cham­pi­onship sea­son. This year’s team con­sists of six se­niors, three ju­niors, three sopho­mores, and two fresh­men,” McGlone said.

The boys fin­ished the reg­u­lar sea­son last year with an over­all record of 19-5 and were the MISAL tour­na­ment cham­pi­ons. They also de­feated Grace to win the Mary­land Chris­tian Schools Tour­na­ment Di­vi­sion I cham­pi­onship.

“Our goals this sea­son are to de­fend our MISAL cham­pi­onship and de­fend our MCST cham­pi­onship,” McGlone said.

The girls team, which will be led by head coach Paul Tarry, will strug­gle this sea­son to re­place Joy Namyst who has gone on to play NCAA Di­vi­sion II soc­cer in South Carolina.

“Namyst was an out­stand­ing de­fen­sive player that will be hard to, if not im­pos­si­ble, to re­place,” Tarry said.

Tarry noted the ath­letes to watch on this year’s team are Jariah Rus­sell, a ju­nior trans­fer from St. Charles High School, and Mor­gan Baker, a re­turn­ing se­nior.

“These two will be our strongest two play­ers,” Tarry said.

Tarry said that Baker suf­fered a knee in­jury in a scrim­mage last week and the team hopes the in­jury is noth­ing se­vere be­cause of Baker’s im­por­tance to the team.

“Baker can re­bound, has the abil­ity to go end to end and can shoot the three. In our fi­nal game of last sea­son, she dropped 36 of the team’s 39 points,” Tarry said. “Rus­sell will be a very im­por­tant ad­di­tion, as she will be able to run with Baker. They should be a strong tan­dem as Rus­sell brings a strong work ethic and men­tal­ity that has not ex­isted in SMCA girls bas­ket­ball.”

Depth may be an is­sue as the team only has nine girls on the ros­ter this year, but field some promis­ing fresh­men Tarry hopes can step up this year.

“This year’s team is still very young with two se­niors, one ju­nior, two sopho­mores, three fresh­men and one eighth-grader, Ken­nadi John­son. John­son is prob­a­bly our third best player. She is smart, shoots well and is ag­gres­sive,” Tarry said. “We are look­ing for John­son and Rus­sell to com­pli­ment Baker this sea­son, as she did not have a lot of scor­ing help last year.”

Baker, Rus­sell and John­son will serve as cap­tains this sea­son.

“We do not have a lot of size or ex­cep­tional quick­ness, so we are hop­ing to come to­gether as a team by shar­ing and mov­ing the ball well,” Tarry said.

King’s Chris­tian Academy in St. Mary’s County will have a boys and girls team this year.

The boys have head coach Reg­gie Wil­liams and as­sis­tant coach Chanda Nor­ton, both in their first years with the pro­gram.

“Our se­nior class last year, were very im­pact­ful in the MISAL con­fer­ence last sea­son,” Nor­ton said. “All of our play­ers will con­trib­ute in a pos­i­tive way [this sea­son].”

The King’s boys ros­ter has five se­niors that Nor­ton noted will pro­vide the team with ex­pe­ri­ence as well as vet­eran lead­er­ship for the un­der­class­men.

“We are ex­pect­ing se­nior Chris Chris­tian and ju­nior Caleb Towns to pro­duce con­sis­tent num­bers for us. Se­nior Jaden John­son and ju­nior Jus­tus Sewell will be sleep­ers,” Nor­ton said. “We also ex­pect se­niors Kenny Rus­sell and Devin John­son, and ju­nior Cedric Sobola to be out­side threats as well as sopho­more Ter­rence Green to start mak­ing his mark this year as the only sopho­more on the team. He will see some good min­utes.”

Nor­ton is the first woman to be an as­sis­tant coach for the King’s boys pro­gram.

“Coach Wil­liams brings a higher level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism to the bas­ket­ball pro­gram, that is ex­cit­ing,” Nor­ton said. “Our goals for the sea­son are to be a smart de­fen­sive team this year and to be suc­cess­ful.”

Damien Rivers is the head girls bas­ket­ball coach for the Ea­gles.

“This year our goal and ex­pec­ta­tions are to win the MISAL league, as well as the Mary­land Chris­tian State tour­na­ment,” Rivers said. “We feel we should be fairly dom­i­nant in league play, and we have some chal­leng­ing non league games to pre­pare us.”

King’s re­turns many of the same play­ers from last year as the team did not have any se­niors who grad­u­ated. With the ad­di­tion of three trans­fer stu­dents to the team this sea­son, the Ea­gles are poised for a suc­cess­ful sea­son.

“This year we have two se­niors that will start, Syd­ney Sobola and Jamie Met­calf, one ju­nior Kayla Gray, and two sopho­mores Imani Eubanks and Alexis Smith,” Rivers said.

Sobola last sea­son as a ju­nior broke the school re­bound­ing record and earned all-con­fer­ence honors.

Eubanks trans­ferred from Leonard­town High School, while Gray and Smith trans­ferred from Great Mills High School.

“Our trans­fers are all great play­ers, but Eubanks was one of Leonard­town’s best play­ers as a fresh­man,” Rivers said. “Her trans­fer­ring was a big deal here lo­cally. Lots of eyes will be on us to see how the trans­fers do.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Calver­ton ju­nior Natalie O’Brien drib­bles the ball dur­ing a game last sea­son. O’Brien is among the key play­ers to watch for the Cougars this win­ter.

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