2012-2013 Frederick County boys basketball preview -- Gazette.Net


Catoctin Cougars

Coach: Mark Wiles (3rd year, 6-37)

Last season’s record: 3-19

Returning starters: 2

Last state tournament appearance: 1981

C.J. Jenkins and Alex Kennedy return as starters for coach Mark Wiles to lead the Cougars into the 2012-13 campaign.

“We expect some senior leadership from them and to help us improve upon last year’s record,” Wiles said. “With them and the underclassmen we have added this year, we feel like we are stronger than we have been in a couple years.”

Wiles believes that his Catoctin squad will be more versatile on offense this season, rather than relying on one go-to player at the offensive end of the court.

“We probably aren’t going to have one guy who will constantly be our leading scorer,” he said. “We probably have four or five guys who could potentially lead us in scoring on a given night, which is exciting as a coach.”

— Kyle Russell

Frederick Cadets

Coach: Greg Schreiber (1st year)

Last season’s record: 12-13

Returning starters: 0

Last state tournament appearance: 2007

Senior leadership will play a major factor for this year’s Cadet team. Frederick will rely on Jerel English, Matt Hynes and Jonah Meredith to take the team in the right direction this season as the players will have to learn a new system. Frederick will need to work on limiting careless mistakes while forcing turnovers on the other end, which is something they struggled with last season. “We do not have a lot of varsity playing time in terms of experience, but we have a lot of guys that are about equal in their abilities,” said head coach Greg Schreiber on the balance of talent. “There should not be a drop-off in play as we go deeper into our bench.”

— Chris Reilly

Gov. Thomas Johnson Patriots

Coach: John Manley

Last season’s record: 4-19

Returning starters: 1

Last state tournament appearance: 2002

With 6-foot-7 Tony Dowdy and 6-foot-5 Terence Stafford, height wasn’t much of an issue last year for Thomas Johnson. But even with their size, the Patriots struggled all season, mustering a 4-19 record and losing in the first round of playoffs to Linganore.

After the graduation of his post players, coach John Manley returns just one starter from last year’s squad and will turn to an eager contingent highlighted by junior guard Temoi Roper, senior forward Eric Blankson and sophomore guard Travis Barbe, as well as newcomers Kendle Pitts and Will Copeland.

If there’s ever an opportunity for the Patriots to reassert themselves as a serious contender in the county, it will be in a four-day stretch in December in which they will play both Tuscarora and Oakdale.

— Travis Mewhirter

Linganore Lancers

Coach: Tom Kraft

Last season’s record: 17-7

Returning starters: 0

Last state playoff appearance: 2004

Last year’s wild ride to the regional championship game is long over for coach Tom Kraft and the Lancers. Kraft lost his top eight players to graduation, including his big-time scorers in Luke Jackson (18.3 points per game) and Jalen Gee.

But Kraft has been pleasantly surprised by his new squad, which enters this season with more question marks than shots taken — the six returning players attempted just 20 field goals in all of 2011-2012.

Seniors Tyler Anderson, Neil Rozich, Justin Myers, Nick Gourley and New Life transfer Seth Myers have shown their coach that, while they may lack in experience, they don’t lack in talent. Neither does freshman point guard Thomas Lang, a 13-year-old who “sees the court better than most.”

— Travis Mewhirter

Middletown Knights

Coach: Aaron White (3rd year, 22-25)

Last season’s record: 11-13

Returning starters: 0

Last state tournament appearance: 1998

With no returning starters from last year’s team, the young and inexperienced Knights will focus on being patient throughout this season. It will be a rebuilding year, as the Knights will need to keep everything in perspective as the team comes together.

“Due to graduation, injuries, and personal decisions, we only have one player returning from last year’s varsity,” said coach Aaron White.” On top of that, of the 21 players that signed up to try out, 16 are on the football team. Until the football season is over, we will only have a handful of players at practice. If they make it to the state final, we won’t have them until December 3rd, and we will still have to make selections for the team before we can start anything.”

— Chris Reilly

MSD Orioles

Coach: James DeStefano (5th year, 83-31)

Last season’s record: 22-6

Returning starters: 1

Last state tournament appearance: 2011

Mo Kamara will be the only returning senior starter for the Orioles this year. Last season, he was the third-leading scorer (9.7 ppg) and third-leading rebounder (6.4 rpg) on the team. Jake Bonheyo, Cody Moers, Jad Gore, DanJohn Kerchner, Carey Ballard, Jake Grindstaff and Bailey Moers all will play important roles for MSD to have success. Talented freshman Yave Sanchez, Diamani McNeely and Mauricio Orozco also will see a lot of action this year.

“The Orioles are a youthful and talented team and will get better as the season goes on,” said coach James DeStefano.

The Maryland School for the Deaf will travel to Riverside, Calif., and New York City to participate in the National Clerc Basketball Tournament in January and ESDAA Basketball Tournament in February.”

— Chris Reilly

New Life Christian Rams

Coach: Bruce Bryant (7th year, 91-70)

Last season’s record: 21-9

Returning starters: 3

Last state tournament appearance: 2011

One of the top scoring teams last year (averaging just over 60 points per game), the Rams will have to rely on defense this year to remain a top team in 2012. Senior Connor Brown will move from the point guard position to small forward. The 6-foot-6 all-around senior is considered one of the top players in Frederick County and is being recruited by over 20 schools. His brother, Austin Brown, also will look to create havoc all over the floor with his speed and athleticism.

“Michael Allwein is a shooting guard and we are counting on him to hit some threes to spread the defenses,” said coach Bruce Bryant. “Our top newcomer is Jeremiah Chambers, a junior transfer from Walkersville. He will run the point a lot for us this year.”

— Chris Reilly

Oakdale Bears

Coach: Terry Connolly

Last season’s record: 15-9

Returning starters: 5

Last state tournament appearance: None

The secret of the Oakdale basketball team has been out for a while now: give the ball to Zach Thomas.

The junior forward, who eclipsed the 1,000 point threshold before he could even drive a car, averaged 22 points and eight rebounds per game last year in leading the Bears to a 15-9 regular season record and a trip to the regional semifinals. But Thomas also was just one of three Bears to average in double figures. Senior guard Kevin Heine tallied 14 points per game and senior forward John Bush chipped in 10. The trio also combined for nearly 20 rebounds per game.

The Bears also will turn to Clay Conner, a junior transfer from Linganore, as a threat from the outside to complement Thomas inside.

— Travis Mewhirter

South Carroll Cavaliers

Coach: Doug Goff

Last season’s record: 23-5

Returning starters: 2

Last state tournament appearance: 2012

Gavin McTavish returns for one final season to lead the Cavaliers.

The McTavish brothers — Gavin and Ryan — have been the face of South Carroll’s program since 2008, and Gavin, last season’s Gazette Player of the Year, is ready for one last season.

The senior averaged 20 points and seven rebounds per game last year in leading South Carroll to the state tournament, but he did it with an excellent ball handler in Dan Mullen. Coach Doug Goff will turn to seniors Jack Quinn, Tyler Alcid and Phil Breno to fill the void.

— Travis Mewhirter

St. John’s Catholic Prep Vikings

Coach: Silas Cheung (7th year, 155-98)

Last season’s record: 20-10

Returning starters: 1

Last state tournament appearance: 2011

The Vikings won its league in the MIAA C Conference Championship against Indian Creek last season, but will be much younger and inexperienced this year. Trevor Lecuona is the only returning starter, a dynamic sophomore point guard who led the county in assists last year. The pass-first guard will have to look to score more often for the Vikings to stay competitive.

“Trevor had an outstanding summer, playing for the 15U national Puerto Rican team and going up against a wide variety of competition,” said coach Silas Cheung.

The Vikings aren’t the biggest team in the league, but St. John’s has many young and quick sophomores who create tough matchups for the opposition.

— Chris Reilly

Tuscarora Titans

Coach: Pat Cook

Last season’s record: 20-6

Returning starters: 2

Last state tournament appearance: 2012

The loss of Bobby Ingram and Jaylen White certainly sets the Titans back somewhat, but with returning starters Kwa McDonald and Lamell Washington returning along with senior and Montrose Christian transfer Carnie Bernard, Tuscarora shouldn’t have much trouble getting back to its 3A West Region champion form.

With an athletic squad, Cook is likely to continue his up-tempo style of play that centers around penetrating, getting to the hoop and drawing fouls. Bernard, along with an imposing 6-foot-2 size for a guard, brings a shooting touch that will be a nice outlet for McDonald, who admitted to being reluctant to shoot from distance, to pass out to.

“We’re just trying to be a better team than we were last year,” Washington said.

— Travis Mewhirter

Urbana Hawks

Coach: John Cooper

Last season’s record: 18-5

Returning starters: 1

Last state tournament appearance: 2010

Like Middletown, Urbana may get off to a sluggish start because of the success of its football team. The Hawks were without three expected starters — Brendan Wharton, Cole Burdette and Darren Ambush — for the first couple weeks of practice, and without their football players, they were an entirely different team.

“We have two teams,” coach John Cooper said. With the trio of football players, Cooper expects a more up-tempo game. Without them, he expects to operate more out of a half-court set to slow things down.

Seniors Thomas Utt and Riley Spain have been full participants since tryouts began on Nov. 15 and Cooper likely will rely heavily on them in the beginning of the season.

“I really like this group,” Cooper said. “I just have two different teams.”

— Travis Mewhirter

Walkersville Lions

Coach: Ryan Burkey, (4th year, 31-39)

Last season’s record: 6-18

Returning starters: 4

Last state tournament appearance: 2005

While the Lions had a very young and inexperienced roster last year, it will be returning several impact players who were able to see a lot of varsity playing time throughout key stretches of last season.

“We have a great group of young men who come ready to work each and every day and work well together as a team unit,” said coach Ryan Burkey. “In order for us to be successful we need to take pride in playing good team defense and contesting every shot.”

Walkersville will miss the reliable scoring and defense Ryan Kwaitek, Matt Guyton and Jalen Brown provided last season. The Lions are confident talented shooting guard Pauling Atemekeng and center Chad Yard will continue their strong progression into this year.

— Chris Reilly