Preseason AAA Hoops Top 25 - 20-16

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>We continue our Preseason AAA Hoops Top 25 Countdown with
teams #20 through 16 below . . .

16. Stonewall Jackson - -
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).
style=> Alongside Washington, the Raiders expect to
get quality play from senior point guard Mustafa Ali and junior forward
class=SpellE>Diandre Stubbs.
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=> Norcom - -
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=> Westfield - -
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
class=SpellE>Riverbend, gives the Bulldogs a major boost with what they
lost in terms of scoring as well as rebounding.

style=> Thomas Jefferson - -
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=> Great Bridge - -
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.
style=> 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.

And in case you missed teams #21 through 25 earlier . . .

style=> Thomas Edison - -
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=> Gar-Field - -
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=> Battlefield - -
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
class=SpellE>Blondin has stellar touch from long distance.
style=> In addition, Battlefield returns junior guard
Jamison Glover and Kameron Hedgepeth,
a dynamic 6-foot-2 sophomore that contributed quite a bit as a freshman.
style=> 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=> 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=> Landstown - -
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.

Honorable Mention: Bethel, Patrick
Henry-Roanoke, Fairfax, Nansemond River and Meadowbrook

2012-13 Group AAA Basketball Schedules with Results & Standings
115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'> 2011-12 Group AAA Basketball
Schedules with Results & Standings


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none'>Matthew Hatfield
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serves as State Basketball Analyst for
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