The Buccaneers and the Chargers' boys' basketball teams will meet Friday night in a rivalry typically decided in the final minutes of each game.
In the past two seasons, Country Day and Providence Day have split four games with both teams defending home court. Both are trying to keep pace with first-place Charlotte Christian.
Providence Day (11-6, 0-1 through Jan. 20) looked solid in non-conference play, with experience in Connor Sullivan and Kevin Hickson and youth in point guard Bryon Fields and Jordan Watkins.
Country Day (7-9, 0-0 through Jan. 20) is led by senior Wake Hamilton and junior twins Ben and Zach Simons.
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After going 15-39 the last two seasons (2-12 in conference play), the Chargers are off to their best start in some time. Head coach Brian Field and the Chargers have done it with a mix of youth and experience.
Fields and Watkins have infused a speed, quickness and ball-handling the Chargers previously lacked. Fields (13 points per game, 5 assists) has allowed Sullivan (16 ppg) to move off the ball more to shoot and score.
Meanwhile, Providence Day can depend on 6-foot-8 center Kevin Hickson (9 ppg, 7 rpg) for solid play inside but needs him and veterans Eric Ivers, James Stramm and Drew Vandemore to play well if they to do well in the CISAA and get a playoff spot.
Charlotte Country Day
Like Providence Day, Charlotte Country Day has struggled the past few seasons, especially last year, going 5-19 and 2-5 in CISAA play. But new head coach Dwayne Cherry has breathed new life into the program.
Look for Senior guard Wake Hamilton to match up with Sullivan a lot; the winner of that battle should give their team a big advantage. Hamilton has a lot of help, starting with the Simons twins, who form a solid inside-out trio with Hamilton. Ben like to bang inside; Zach tends to stay on the perimeter, with freshman guard Kendon McLaurin and Brandon Santiago also factoring in.