football

Preseason AAA Hoops Top 25 - 10-6

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>We continue our Preseason AAA Hoops Top 25 Countdown with
teams #15 through 11 below . . .

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
11.
Petersburg - - The Crimson Wave basketball team has put together a
better record than anyone else in the state at the Group AAA level over the
past six years 160-18, which included a 29-2 mark in their first seasons under
Head Coach Rick Hite. But as great as
Petersburg has been of late, they've seen their Championship quest come up
short with five losses in the State Tournament over the last six years, four of
those times being eliminated by the Eastern Region Champion.
style=> While the state's leading scorer is gone in
Frank Mason, Petersburg will have a pretty deep rotation with seniors Earl
Adams, Quadree Walker, Marius Watson and Malik
Blackwell; juniors Gevon Arrington, James Byers and
Adonis Jameas; and sophomore Gemonta
Jackson.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>12.
style=> GW-Danville - -
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>New
Coach Thomas Carr comes in with a different mindset and a plan to push the basketball
up the floor at a rapid pace for the GW-Danville Eagles, who are trying to get
back to the State Tournament for the first time since 2009 when they lost to
King's Fork in overtime in the quarterfinals.
This team will feature some seasoned talented with seven seniors, led by
two highly sought after recruits in guard Jarod Williams and wing Ahmad Thomas.
style=> Last season, Thomas put up nearly 16 points
per game for the Eagles as they made it to the regional quarterfinals, whereas
Williams returns to GW after spending last year at Blue Ridge.
style=> They have two bona-fide scorers in Williams
and Thomas to be in the hunt, but to contend for hardware it may take getting a
lift from the support cast.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>13.
style=> Maury - -
10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>In 36 seasons at
the helm, Jack Baker has won 649 games, the most among all active VHSL coaches
in the state. His Commodores are sure to
be competitive, even with the departure of ultra-athletic scoring wing Jamal
Ferguson to Marquette. Jamal's younger
brother, Jaleel Ferguson (14PPG, 9.8RPG), is going to
carry them on the baseline alongside fellow 6-foot-5 junior Shyheim
Draughan, a potential breakout player in the Eastern
Region this year. Size and outside
shooting is there. What they aren't real
sure about going into the campaign is ball-handling duties, where things could
be split up amongst the likes of Mike Basnight,
class=SpellE>Jalon Williams and Blake Gibson until someone takes control
at the point.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>14.
style=> Green Run - -
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Fifth-year
Head Coach Kenny Harris has the Stallions looking to build on a regional
playoff appearance and 17-win campaign, but they will have to do it with
double-double man Mark Hall, the Beach District Player of the Year who's now
playing football at UVA. Fortunately for
the Stallions, they have basically everyone else back and couple talented
newcomers to make a push towards the school's first Beach District title since
1988-89. They will lean on the perimeter
trio of senior point guard Lequan Thomas, junior wing
Keon Buchanan and junior shooting guard Tyler
Blount. Each brings a different dimension
to the equation with Thomas providing quickness and relentlessness, Buchanan
possessing athleticism and toughness, and Blount bringing three-point shooting
and poise.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>15.
style=> T.C. Williams - -
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Four
times in the past six years, the Titans have won the Northern Region,
highlighted by their run to a state title 2008.
Gone are three-year starters Daquan Kerman and
Anthony 'T.J.' Huggins, leading to questions about where some of their
leadership and scoring will come from this season.
style=> One guy they will lean on heavily is 6-foot-5
senior forward Landon Moss, who put up over 11 points and seven rebounds a game
this season and is capable of raising those numbers to around 18PPG and
10RPG. Typically, T.C. Williams plays
extremely hard defensively and is battle-tested come playoff time because of
the tough non-district schedule they play, so count on them being a factor when
the postseason rolls around even if they get off to a slow start.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
And
in case you missed teams #16 through 25 earlier . . .

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>16.
style=> Stonewall Jackson - -
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Last
season, the Raiders made their first trip to the Northwest Region Tournament
since 2003. Now, Stonewall Jackson has
its sights set on winning the Cedar Run District and making a deep playoff run
with ten players back from their 2011-12 bunch,
headlined by 6-foot-3 senior guard J.R. Washington (20.9PPG, 7.8RPG,
4.1SPG). Alongside Washington, the
Raiders expect to get quality play from senior point guard Mustafa Ali and
junior forward Diandre Stubbs.
style=> Defensively, they gave up 63.2 points a
contest and will have to reduce that total to go further in the postseason this
time.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>17.
style=> Norcom - -
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>It's
not quite the Greyhounds team that won back-to-back state titles with Dorian
Finney-Smith, DeCarlos Anderson and Jeremy
class=SpellE>Canty leading the way, but there's firepower for Coach Leon
Goolsby to pursue a sixth Eastern District Tournament
crown in seven years. At his disposal
are two of the best perimeter scoring threats in Malique
Trent and James Whitaker, a pair of seniors getting courted by D-1
class=GramE>schools. Each can erupt
for a huge scoring outburst at any time.
How far they go will depend on a few factors, such as the defensive
intensity for 32 minutes, production from role players like Antonio Parker and
Troy Locke, and what kind of consistency they get out of the point guard and
post positions.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>18.
style=> Westfield - -
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>This
spot might be a little low for the defending Northern Region Champions, who did
say good-bye to front-court standouts in the 6-foot-11 Zach Elcano,
now at American University, and 6-foot-4 forward Quentin Basil.
style=> What they do have back is an All-District
athlete in 6-foot-3 wing C.J. Hill, who is explosive going to the rim and
reliable defensively for a Bulldogs team known for stymying offensive-minded
squads that want to get out and run.
Six-foot-4 senior swingman Trevon Walton, a
transfer from Riverbend, gives the Bulldogs a major
boost with what they lost in terms of scoring as well as rebounding.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>19.
style=> Thomas Jefferson - -
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Under
Coach Kendrick Warren, the Vikings enjoyed a major turnaround last season in
winning 20 games, including a comeback victory over L.C. Bird in the
Times-Dispatch Tournament and beating John Marshall to capture the Colonial
District Tournament Championship. None
of their five starters from last season graduated, but word has it that
injuries to a couple of key starters, Josh Boone and Vidrell
Lee, will have them sidelined for the first month of the season, if not
longer. They'll lean on Garrick Ellis,
class=SpellE>Kadeem Wright and Rashawn
Alexander, all double-figure scorers.
How healthy this team is down the stretch, and what kind of lift they
are able to get from their bench, should determine their success in the
postseason.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>20.
style=> Great Bridge - -
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
Even though All-District point guard Taj Owens is
gone to Radford, the Wildcats have perhaps the best junior guard in Tidewater
in Marcus Evans, who'll follow in the footsteps of Owens and VCU's
class=SpellE>Briante Weber as the next D-1 product from a Great Bridge
program that's coming off its first Southeastern District title in 12
years. Steve Bienlien
is more than serviceable on the interior for the Wildcats, and both Andre Banks
and Mark Madison must be accounted for by defenses with their ability to strike
from three-point land. This is a team
that wants to control tempo, dictate the pace and let their defense set the
tone to frustrate the opposition. It'll
take a team forcing the action in transition, yet being disciplined and patient
in the half-court when needed to beat them.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>21.
style=> Thomas Edison - -
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>The
amount of progress the Eagles have made from going 1-19 three years ago to
reaching the Group AAA State Tournament last season, their first trip since
1970, is rather remarkable. Coach Terry
Henderson relied heavily on the twin tower combination of Matt Murphy and Ty
class=SpellE>Mackall down low, but those two graduated, meaning the
backcourt will be in the spotlight.
Markus Brumsey Jr. and Chief
class=SpellE>Amoah give them two quality guards that can create off the
bounce and pressure the basketball defensively.
Edison will have to make up for that front-court scoring and rebounding
they lose in Mackall and Murphy, though, and improve
their outside shooting, which cost them in the 68-61 State Playoff loss to
Petersburg when they shot 0-for-10 from beyond the arc.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>22.
style=> Gar-Field - -
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Winning
their first 23 games a season ago, the Gar-Field Indians went on to grab the
Northwest Region Tournament crown before falling to Kecoughtan
in the State Tournament quarterfinals to cap one of the finest years in school
history on the hardwood. Gone is
All-State guard Marcus 'Smoke' Knight, but they'll be just fine in the
backcourt with a couple of All-Cardinal District selections in Navy commit Zach
Fong (66 3's) and Curtis Lovitt (13.3PPG).
style=> Most importantly, Gar-Field has developed a
winning mentality and confidence that will give them an edge most nights when
they take the court. Beyond Fong and
class=SpellE>Lovitt, the Indians have to identify who else they can
count on for consistent minutes and productivity because there's not a ton of
size or depth for Coach Andy Gray.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>23.
style=> Battlefield - -
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Three
starters return for the Bobcats after notching a 12-11 mark in year one under
Coach Kurt Pauly.
Six-foot-1 senior Roman Hall (12PPG) is a four-year starter and speedy
off the bounce; 6-foot-4 senior wing Terrell Walker (10PPG) is a three-year
starter that affects the game in a variety of ways; and 6-foot-3 junior guard
Trevor Blondin has stellar touch from long
distance. In addition, Battlefield
returns junior guard Jamison Glover and Kameron
class=SpellE>Hedgepeth, a dynamic 6-foot-2 sophomore that contributed quite
a bit as a freshman. Look for this
program to be on the rise for years to come with four members from a J.V. team
that went 33-2 over the past two seasons moving up the ladder.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>24.
style=> Cosby - -
10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Led by Second Team
All-State performer Troy Caupain, a fearless attacker
who averaged 25 points per game as a junior, the Cosby Titans are looking to
follow up their Dominion District Tournament crown with another solid
campaign. To go with him, the Titans
have one of the better freshmen around in Justin Henry.
style=> Outside of the Cincinnati signee
class=SpellE>Caupain and Jarek
class=SpellE>Frankovich, there isn't a great amount of experience, plus
Coach Ronald Carr has concerns about their size and depth against some of the
upper echelon teams in the Central Region.
However, when Caupain is on and if Henry
develops on schedule, this team will threaten again in the Dominion District.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>25.
style=> Landstown - -
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>In
11 seasons under Coach Dwight Robinson, the Landstown
Eagles have gone 187-86 with a record of 103-39 in Beach District play.
style=> All four perimeter starters from last year's
team in Tim Marshall, D.J. Roberson, Sedric
class=SpellE>Nady and Tyri Morring
moved on to the next level. Diminutive
5-foot-6 point guard Jordan Roberson is the pulse of the team and plays with
terrific energy and hustle every possession.
Robinson's teams are always aggressive defensively with various presses
and traps, but they now finally have a true inside presence to fall back on in
6-foot-8 sophomore center Darius Bolstad.
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
Honorable Mention: Bethel, Patrick
Henry-Roanoke, Fairfax, Nansemond River and Meadowbrook

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
href="http://matthewhatfield.com/Basketball/2012-13_GroupAAA_HighSchool_BasketballSchedules.pdf">
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>
115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>The 2012-13 Group AAA Basketball
Schedules with Results & Standings
normal'>
href="http://matthewhatfield.com/Basketball/2011-12_GroupAAA_HighSchool_BasketballSchedules.pdf">
class=GramE>
line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>The
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>
115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'> 2011-12 Group AAA Basketball
Schedules with Results & Standings
normal'>

style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>Matthew Hatfield
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>
serves as State Basketball Analyst for
href="http://www.virginiapreps.com">
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>VirginiaPreps.com
style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>, part of the Rivals.com
Network. Check out
href="http://www.twitter.com/hatfieldsports">
normal'>
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Hatfield's Twitter page
style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'> for more sports related info and
updates. To contact Matthew, please e-mail
normal'>
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>hatfieldsports2k4@yahoo.com
style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>, and don't forget to listen to him
on the VirginiaPreps.com Hour every Saturday at 11AM on
href="http://www.espnradio941.com/">
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>ESPN Radio 94.1
style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'> and watch him on the
href="http://www.cox11.com">
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Cox 11 Sports Report
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115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>.
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