Patriot Boys Optimistic About Hoops Season
The Pinecrest boys basketball team has a tough act to follow coming off back-to-back 19-8 seasons. Two-time all-conference players Jarrin Wooten and Josh Scales have graduated and only three players are back from last year's squad.
Mike Apple, who is 95-64 in his six years as the Patriot head coach, still likes the hand that he has been dealt. His team opens the season at 7:30 p.m. toinight at home against former Mid-Southeastern Conference rival Jack Britt.
"We've got some guys in Julian Brewer and Daquan Towns that have a lot of experience from last year," he said of the senior forwards. "I'm very optimistic about what we have. I think we're going to have to outwork a lot of teams and we're not going to have a size advantage a lot of nights, but I think we'll be as quick and athletic as a lot of people."
The 6-foot-3 Brewer and 6-1 Towns will both spend a lot of time above the rim. Brewer was third on the team in scoring last season at 9 points per game. Towns averaged 7 off the bench but scored 26 in an 82-76 state playoff loss at New Hanover last February. The only other returnee is 6-0 senior wing player Rakeen McLaughlin.
Among the players moving up from a successful jayvee team and expected to contribute early are 6-4 Faronte Drakeford and the squad's most polished point guard, 6-0 Phillip Wallace, both juniors.
Also in the backcourt picture are 6-1 senior Harron Carson and 5-10 juniors Antonio Jones, Damari McPhaul and Damion Pride.
Wing men include seniors Juan Russ, 6-3, and 6-0 Corey Collins. Juniors Marshall Smith, 6-1, and Nate Peterkin, 6-4, (currently injured) are post position reserves.
Four of the six teams in the new Southeastern Conference, which includes Richmond Senior, Scotland County, Hoke County, Lumberton and Purnell Swett, have new head coaches. Returning to assist Apple are Larry Shields and Nick Boney. Josh Newton is back to coach the freshmen and Ronshau Cole will be the new jayvee coach.
One of the highlights of the schedule is the seventh annual Holiday in the Pines Tournament on Dec. 28-30. The attractive eight-team field includes returnees in Trinity Christian, Richmond, Overhills and West Montgomery along with newcomers Broughton, Southern Lee and Fuquay-Varina.
Schedule: Nov. 19 Jack Britt; 21-24 Pilot Cup at North Moore; Dec. 1 Red Springs; 3 at Southern Lee; 4 at Western Harnett; 8 at Red Springs; 18 at Overhills; 28-30 Holiday-in-the-Pines Tournament; Jan. 5 at Flora MacDonald; 8 at Lumberton; 9 Union Pines; 12 at Scotland; 15 Purnell Swett; 22 Richmond; 26 at Hoke; 29 Lumberton; Feb. 2 Scotland; 5 at Purnell Swett; 9 at Richmond; 12 Hoke; 15-19 Conference Tournament.
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