South Charlotte

Providence Day boys thrive on hustle

The Providence Day boys' basketball team won 18 games last year, more than double its total in each of the previous two seasons.

The Chargers relied heavily on seniors to lead the resurgence but have lost nearly every aspect of what is supposed to make a good team.

They return two starters, but 10 of their 12 players had not played a varsity basketball game before this season. Providence Day has no seniors, no true big man and is not near as deep as last year's team.

If it sounds like a rebuilding year on paper, it has not started out that way in the win column. The Chargers won five of their first seven games by focusing on their strengths.

They have something most teams don't, a pair of ultra talented and experienced guards.

"It makes my job so much easier because we are so young. Instead of having to always be on the guys to do things a certain way, I have two guys who are respected leaders that can show guys what I mean," said Charger head coach Brian Field.

Junior Bryon Fields opened the year leading the Chargers in scoring with more than 20 points per game. Sophomore Jordan Watkins is averaging more than 15 points and five rebounds a game, and they are the nucleus of an even younger team.

"The year has started off well for us. We didn't project to be very good... we didn't know what to expect from the guys," Watkins said. "It feels like we are getting better each game."

While Fields was starring on the football field, earning all-state honors as he helped the Chargers to their first state title in 25 years, he wasn't sure what awaited him on the court.

"I knew we had a lot of young guys but also knew there was a lot of talent out here. I have been really pleased with how our guys have stepped up," Fields said. "Last year we had some older more experienced guys who knew what it takes to win and be successful. We are pretty much a first year team all playing together, but I think we have the potential to be more talented and are more athletic for sure than last year."

Last year Fields averaged 13 points, five assists and four rebounds and Watkins added 10 points, three assists and 2.5 rebounds. They have had to take on bigger roles offensively and with team leadership, but are thriving in their new roles.

"Jordan and Bryon are young, but they do not play like young players on the court. They both are very good rebounding guards and bring so much. They played big minutes last year and are the two hardest working guys every day in practice," Field said. "They have been great leaders for us, and guys feed off what they say."

To this point, they have won three close games that will only help them as the year winds on.

"Around school people know we have a young team and we weren't picked very high so there is no pressure on us. Jordan and I just have to continue to lead and we will be fine."