Rising to elite status the goal of county boys’ entrants
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 12:02 pm
Dresden and Westview are looking to stay on top and rise even higher.
Greenfield is getting close to that altitude, and Gleason is putting the people in place to take a few steps up as well.
The Lions and Chargers each won district championships and advanced into their respective Region 7 tournaments — Class A for Dresden; AA for Westview — and could make a strong push for titles again this year.
Greenfield finished three wins shy of 20 and reached the Region 7A Tournament as well following a third-place showing in the District 14A postseason event.
At Gleason, alum Jamie Roney takes over the Bulldog program and has some good, young talent to begin building a winner.
The following is a look at Weakley County’s four boys’ basketball teams.
Although the Lions lost six seniors from last season’s 23-8 District 13A champion team, Dresden has enough young talent in place to make another regional tournament run.
Daniel Harris and his 17 points a game are gone, as are Jacob Vallee, Matt Beaty, Dale Hutcherson, Kody Houston and Tyler Hawks.
But, 6-4 senior center Tyler McPeak came within percentage points of averaging a double-double in 2010-11 with 14 points and 9.4 rebounds a game.
He returns as a force in the paint and will be joined by 6-0 senior point guard Gatlin Hatchel (6.2 assists per game last season), 6-3 senior forward Joseph Sipes and 6-4 sophomore forward Austin Daniel to make up a large lineup.
“Even though we lost six seniors who helped lead us to a district title, we have some young talent that we expect to step in and take advantage of the opportunity to help right away,” said Tommy Dilday, entering his 10th year at Dresden. “We hope we can gain early experience that will allow us to compete for the district title again this year.”
Dilday pointed out that will be difficult, however, in a balanced district. Clarksburg and Bruceton return most of their players, while Huntingdon, West Carroll and Big Sandy all looked good in summer workouts.
Jamie Roney takes over a Gleason program that won just three of its 27 games last year, finishing 1-15 in District 13A and losing in the first round of district tournament play.
The young Bulldogs will rely on 6-2 junior forward Austin Perry early in the season while a large sophomore class develops.
Perry, who participated in the USA Junior Nationals during the summer, is coming off a season where he averaged seven points and seven rebounds per game.
Chris Sumner, a 5-10 guard, 5-11 forward Dakota Parsons and 5-10 guard Alex Hahn — all sophomores — will be counted on to grow into key roles this season, while Roney will also look to five more sophomores (Avery Orr, Jacob Cruse, Matthew Hudson, Michael Hudson and Thomas Travis), a junior (Dylan Reynolds) and a freshman (Keaton Collins) to become reliable players as the season goes on.
The hope is that several of those players will be able to step up and fill the void left by Ben Rollins, who scored at a 17.7 per-game clip last season.
“We have a huge challenge after losing such a talented and experienced player as Ben Rollins,” Roney said. “Our entire team is young and inexperienced, but there is plenty of talent to accompish great things in the near future. It is an exciting time to be a part of Gleason basketball.”
Roney and assistant coach Bryan Sanders were teammates on the 1993-94 Bulldog team that posted a 16-10 record. Sanders also coaches the junior high team, while Chris Leo serves on the staff as well.
The Yellowjackets posted a solid 17-11 record last season, finishing third in the District 14A Tournament.
Greenfield could be even better this year, but that might not translate into more wins, considering the company the ’Jackets keep.
The 14A league is loaded with defending state champion Lake County returning nearly everyone from that squad, Humboldt is a perennial state tournament team that is expected to be very talented again, and Union City boasts a young and athletic squad that should be in the district title mix as well.
“We should be a good team, but in our league that could mean finishing fourth or fifth,” Greenfield head coach Peter Angelos said.
Heath Crouse and Graham Perkins, both seniors who have started since their sophomore season, are the team’s returning starters.
Crouse is an all-around solid player who averaged 16 points a game last season en route to earning all-district honors, while Perkins, at 5-11, is undersized for the center spot but is strong in the post.
Alex Roberts and Hunter Dixon are two seniors who figure in the playing time mix, as will junior Hunter Crouse and Tony Robinson.
They should help fill the spots left by three graduated starters. Wes Clark was a three-year starter who averaged 17 points a game last season, Tyler Jones was the point guard and good defender, and Dalton Potts brought a great court awareness to his team.
J.B. Suiter comes into this third season as coach of the defending District 13AA champions and will look to a speed-oriented lineup to defend that crown.
“We have a ton of speed returning from last year’s team, where we played as many as 12 guys on some nights,” said Suiter, 36-23 in his tenure. “We have a strong junior class, and we’ll look for Chris Evans to lead us back into postseason play.
“Defensively, we look to pressure teams to create transition opportunities. If we’re able to develop an inside game, we’ll be tough to stop.”
Evans, (6-0), averaged eight points and four rebounds a game last year. He will be joined by juniors Antonio Hogard (5-11) and Javier Gordon (6-3) as returning leaders.
Both scored in double figures on average last season, Gordon 12 points with five rebounds a game and Hogard 10 points with 3.2 assists a game.
Westview has some big shoes to fill with the graduation of Jacob Lloyd from last year’s team. Lloyd averaged 19 points in helping the Chargers to a 24-9 record last season. Published in The WCP 11.15.11