Tri-Rivers District boys DISTRICT OUTLOOK Surry was state runner-up in Division 1 last season. Chesterfield Community reached the state tournament two of the last three seasons. Coaches generally list those two teams as favorites, with Sussex Central and Franklin getting mentions.
TEAM-BY-TEAM OUTLOOKAppomattox RGS: The Dragons lost Mark Baker, a second-team all-state selection. Dimitri Ross (11.5 ppg) is the top returning scorer.
Charles City: The Panthers are rebuilding behind Kevin Wallace and Trevor Jones.
Chesterfield Community: Community has been to the state tournament two of the last three seasons. David Copeland (19.1 ppg) is the top player and one of several 3-point sharpshooters. Depth may be a problem.
Franklin: Nine of the Broncos' expected varsity athletes will play in the state football final Saturday, so practice hasn't started. Once it does, Donzell Shearin and Derrick Thompson will lead the returnees.
Surry County: The Cougars reached the Division 1 state-championship game last season and return three key players in John Newman, Vincent Batten and Montel White.
Sussex Central: Four starters return, and coaches say the Tigers will be one of the district's top teams. Tyrone Cooper, Titus Felts, Robert Harris, Nick Ford and Kayshan Brown have experience.
Note: Windsor did not provide information.
The following information was supplied by district coaches:
APPOMATTOX REGIONAL GOVERNORS SCHOOL
Coach: Dagan Rowe
Returning players: Dimitri Ross (6-4, Jr. F, 11.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg), Viincent Crawley (6-0, Soph., G), Cory Jones (6-1, Sr., F), Keith Nixon (5-7, Soph., G), Malik Thomas (6-6,. Sr., C).
Others (newcomers): Micaiah Presley (5-9, Soph, G), Gabe Boudali (6-4, Jr., F), Khalil Powers (6-2, Fresh, C), Alexander Kolb, 6-2, Jr. C), Jazuaze Murdock (5-7, Fresh., G), Da'mon Richardson (6-0, Sr., F), Fenton Bland III (60, Sr., F).
Outlook: The Dragons, after finishing last season in a three way tie for fifth in the Tri-Rivers with Windsor and Charles City, will try to improve upon that result this year, despite losing 4 starters from last year's team, including District POY and 2nd team All-State selection Mark Baker (Randolph-Macon College). This year's team is very long with considerable depth on the front line. A renewed commitment to defense and rebounding could spur the Dragons to an unexpected level of success as they look to surpass the .500 mark (24-24) that they've maintained over the past two years. Malik Thomas sat out last year to concentrate on soccer. His 6-6 height will help.
Coach: Sharone Bailey (first year)
Returning players: Trevor Jones (6-0, F, Soph.), Michael Jefferson (5-10, G, Sr.), Vannie Spruill (6-0, F, Soph.), Welton Smith (6-1, F, Sr.), Kevin Wallace (5-9, G, Jr.).
Others (newcomers): Cody Doan (5-10, G, Soph.), Roger Williams (5-10, G, Jr.), Mark Greene (6-1, C, Sr.), Wendell Jones (5-10, F, Jr.), Carroll Williams (5-9, F. Sr.), Dominick Harris (6-2, C, Soph.)
Outlook: It's a rebuilding stage. Kevin Wallace and Trevor Jones will be the nucleus of a team that will try to continue their up-tempo style of basketball. Newcomers Coady Doan and Wendell Jones have JV experience, and Roger Williams is the younger brother of the Panthers' leading scorer from last year (Aaronde Williams 17.8 ppg).
Coach: Toby Campbell.
Returning players: Juhuan Robinson (6-0, Jr. F, 8.1 ppg.), David Copeland (6-2, Sr., G), Kirk Able (6-0, Sr., G. Sr.), Clarence Heckstall (6-0, F, Sr., 10.1 ppg).
Others (newcomers): George Best (6-5, Sr., C), Patrick Johnson (5-7, Sr., G), Michael Brown Jr. (6-2, Jr., C).
Outlook: Only 10 players on the varsity, but the core group is back. Copeland has led the team to the state tournament two of the past three years. Plenty of speed and 3-point shooters to go around. Will not be a sbig as last year, and George Best and Clarence Heckstall will have to produce right away inside if we are going to have success. Heckstall came off the bench last year after sitting the first semester. Juhuan Robinson is an up-and-coming big-time player and has really improved his game. With Copeland, Robinson, Able, and Johnson, Community could cause some match-up problems as all can hit from deep. Lack of depth could be costly in the long run.
Coach: Danny Dillon
Returning players: Donzell Shearin (Sr.), Malik Brown (Sr.), Derrick Thompson (Sr.), Antonio Britt (Sr.), Justin Grant , Daquan Frazier (Sr.), Antonio Smith (Sr.), Daquan Clemons (Jr.)
Others (newcomers): Ashley Lee.
Outlook: Preseason practice really hasn't started since nine of the presumed varsity roster played in the state football semifinals on Saturday. The Broncos won't have a lot of height (Lee is 6-4, Frazier 6-3), but will rely on speed. But with players needing to transition quickly from football to basketball, "this isn't a year to put in a whole lot of new stuff," said Dillon.
Coach: Landon Pittman.
Returning players: Montel White (6-4, Jr.), John Newman (6-2, Sr.), Vincent Batten (5-11, Sr.). Laquel Bailey (6-3, Jr.).
Others (newcomers): William Lawrence (6-2, Fresh.), Donovan Ellis (5-10, Sr.), Phillip Wilkins, Damian Savadge, Melvin Little.
Outlook: Surry lost in the Division 1 state championship game last year and returns White, Newman and Batten from the starting five. Pittman says the team will rely heavily on Bailey, who came up from the JV midway through last season. Pittman says "we shouldn't have any problems putting the ball in the hole. My concern is defending. We need to take a little bit of pride on that end of the court."
Coach: Rickey Barefoot
Returning players: Tyrone Cooper, Titus Felts, Robert Harris, Nick Ford and Kaysahn Brown.
Others (newcomers): Ernest Crockett (Sr.l, Tyquan Johnson (Fresh.)
Outlook: Four returning starters . Should be a strong rebounding team and experienced.
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