Boys struggle with injuries, irregular lineup

After a rough 2-7 preseason, the boys’ varsity team is 1-4 in league play.

The team’s next game is on Friday, Jan. 25, against Buckingham Charter. The Cavs lost to the Knights on Jan. 4, 67-29.

The Cavs began their preseason with a thrilling 45-44 win over Freedom Christian on Nov. 27; senior Donald Hutchinson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win the game.

However they quickly lost momentum with six losses in a row. Their first league win was a 62-53 victory over Lutheran High School on Jan. 11. There are currently 11 players on the team; however several have been affected by injuries.

Junior Patrick Talamantes has been out most of the season after breaking his foot in the preseason, and senior Brandon Mysicka had a separated shoulder for three to four games.

“I’m a little disappointed only because we haven’t had a whole roster with everybody playing,” coach David Ancrum said. “The injuries really got us.”

The boys’ leading scorer, senior Morgan Bennett-Smith, attributed the disappointing start to the team’s lack of experience.

“We haven’t had a fixed starting five lineup all year. Also it hurts when your center is 6’2”.”Screen shot 2013-01-23 at 2.36.47 PM

Bennett-Smith has averaged 27 points and 4.1 steals a game.

However, Bennett-Smith’s competitive soccer team causes him to miss some of the games.

“When he’s there, we have our leader,” assistant coach Gary Brisco said. “When he’s not, we have something missing, something irreplaceable.”

The Cavs are sometimes joined at their 6:30 a.m. practice by members of the middle school team. Seventh graders BJ Askew, Jase McCain and Jake Virga play at a higher skill level than most of the members of the varsity, according to Ancrum.

The three play on a competitive AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) team called 916 Select.

“It raises the bar when they play with us,” Ancrum said.

However, the Cavs have already matched the number of wins they had in their 2011-12 season, when their overall record was 3-16.

Ancrum said the team has improved in their ball movement, handling the pressure and cutting off the baseline.

Hutchinson, the leading rebounder, said that the team has gotten better because younger players are maturing. Some new additions to the varsity are freshmen Serajh Esmail and Brad Petchauer and sophomore Skovran Cunningham.

In fact, Ancrum chose Cunningham as the most improved player thus far.

“Skov has gotten 110 degrees better because he came here late, and he kind of started from the beginning,”  Ancrum said.

When asked how the younger players have adjusted to playing in the high-school league, Ancrum said, “I think they’re doing good. The only thing they’ve had to get used to is the speed and the size of everybody.”

Hutchinson feels the younger players are now more confident with the ball and stronger.

Other players include seniors Jack Lewis, Clement Goetzeler and Tommy Peng;   junior Caleb Davis; and sophomore George Cvetich.

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