Varsity boys struggle to repeat non-conference success


The boys’ basketball team opened to a new coach, new year and new goals as coach Todd Seymour hoped to guide the help the team to the playoffs this year.

The Cougars finished non-conference play with a record of 5-3, leaving Seymour  optimistic on what his squad could accomplish this season.

“I think we are going to be fine. We just have to keep getting better. We played some tough teams out of the conference like Cary and Knightdale,” Seymour said. “We have definitely played some tough teams, and we have already played a tough conference game against Broughton and this conference is so tough that if you don’t prepare yourselves well you will be in for a rude awakening when conference comes around.”

This team is comprised of six seniors, including Jamel McAllister, who echoed his coach’s sentiments as the team prepped for conference play.

“We need to keep playing how we’ve been playing and we need to come out strong and play hard in every game if we want to be successful now that conference has started,” McAllister said.

As the football team enjoyed its return run to the state championship, the basketball team missed two of its big men during non-conference play, junior Dexter Lawrence and sophomore Xach Gill.

“I think in high school you have to tailor your offenses and defenses to the type of personnel you have at the current time. So obviously we have some guys that are pretty skilled offensively and you like to highlight their strengths and also push you in your best position to be good offensively,” Seymour said. “Now I think it’s going to be interesting to see how we transition into having a much bigger team by getting two big post players than what we had at the beginning of the season.”

One of this years’ seniors Dominic Loveless has committed to play at UNC Pembroke. Loveless said he uses the scholarship to help him on the court.

“Obviously it gives me more confidence, and it helps me calm down and not get overwhelmed while I’m in the game, so I can play the way I know I can.”

This year’s team is a very offensive minded team, and they do not hesitate to pull any open shots.

“I think we’ve shot the ball pretty well offensively, but we haven’t executed the way that I would like offensively, but we have certainly knocked down some shots. Now that we have the football players we can see if it changes the efficiency of our offense,” Seymour said.

McAllister was also excited to add Lawrence and Gill to the offense.

“We will still run the floor like always, but we can feed the post more. Not that many teams will be able to match up with our two big men,” McAllister said.

Seymour also likes the mentality that Lawrence and Gill will bring to conference play.

“Toughness, I think is a big thing and a pride in winning basketball. Those guys come with the expectations of winning because that’s what they do in football season, and I think it’s important to have in our program, and I think we will do that with those guys,” Seymour said.

That optimism would be tested as the team faced the first round of Cap-8 foes heading into winter break and the week after.  After a rout at Heritage Jan. 6 and a follow-up loss to second place Leesville Jan. 9, the team fell to 1-4 in conference play.

After the Heritage loss, Seymour reflected on what the team needed to work on.

“We’re not really rebounding well right now. We struggled last night with that. We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds. We’re struggling on the defensive end, and we’re not sharing the ball really well on offense.”

Friday night saw the Cougars in action against the Enloe Eagles to finish out exam week, and the boys earned a decisive victory, 79 to 58. The win moved the Cougars to a tie for fifth place with the Sanderson Spartans with a 2-4 record.  Both teams trail fourth place Heritage who sits alone in fourth places with a 3-3 record.

The team travels Jan. 21 to face the Spartans.