Prep Insider Blog

Boys Basketball Team Capsules: Catawba County Schools

Here are previews for boys basketball programs in Catawba County. The profiles were put together by Observer correspondent Jay Edwards.

To see more county previews, visit this link

BANDYS

Head Coach: Adam Dutka (3rd year as Bandys’ football coach).

2016-17 Record: 7-16 (4-10 in the Southern District 7 (SD7) Conference).

2017-18 Conference: South Fork 2A Conference.

Returning Starters (3): Ja’Tay Culliver, Sr., G (6-1); Austin Gwyn, Sr., F (6-6); Charlie Styborski, Jr., G (6-1).

Other Key Returnees: Laz Maxwell, Sr., G (6-2). Key Newcomers: Davis Clanton, Jr., G.

Outlook: The Trojans have struggled in recent years with seven straight losing seasons, including a 7-16 record a year ago. Life won’t get any easier in the new, South Fork 2A conference. But Bandys will look to seniors, Culliver and Gwyn to lead a young team, who will likely finish in the bottom half of the league race, but will try to get back into the playoff contention.

--JAY EDWARDS

BUNKER HILL

Head Coach: Lee Swanson (3rd year as Bunker Hill basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 2-23 (0-14 in the Southern District 7 (SD7)).

2017-18 Conference: Northwest Foothills’ 2A Conference.

Returning Starters (5): Chandler Cummins, Sr. C (6-6); Carlos Fletcher, Jr., F (6-5); Christyan Murray, So., G (6-0); Christian Ramseur, Jr., G (5-9); Thaxton Isenhour, Jr., F (6-4). Key Newcomers: Nate Sigmon, So., F (5-11).

Outlook: Bunker Hill has struggled recently with losing seasons in five of the last six years, including a 2-23 record a year ago. However, the Bears do return five starters, and have the experience and size, to be much more competitive in the new, Northwest Foothills 2A conference. Bunker Hill has new life in a new conference and looks to translate into more wins and move up the league standings (0-14 in SD7 play last year).

--JAY EDWARDS

FRED T. FOARD

Head Coach: Andy Hodges (6th year as Fred T. Foard basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 43-39.

2016-17 Record: 11-16 (4-10 in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Northwest Foothills’ 2A Conference.

Returning Starters (3): Nash Whitener, Jr., G/F (6-4); Dallas Pena, Jr., G (6-0); Caleb Schmidt, Sr., G (6-1).

Other Key Returnees: Jack Colosimo, Jr., PG (5-11). Key Newcomers: Bryce Todd, Jr., F/C (6-5); Daniel Lackey, So., G (6-1).

Outlook: The Tigers return their entire backcourt in senior, Schmidt (17 ppg) and juniors, Pena (8 ppg) and Whitener (7 ppg, 7 rpg), which should give them a good chance to be right in the thick of the new, Northwest Foothills’ 2A conference race and get back on the right side of .500. If Fred T. Foard can find consistent frontcourt help, they could also be a difficult playoff matchup.

--JAY EDWARDS

HICKORY

Head Coach: Andy Poplin (5th year as Hickory basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 24-7 (10-4 in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Northwestern 3A/4A Conference.

Returning Starters (3): Torey James, Sr., G/F (6-5); Jackson Bell, Sr., F (6-4); Jaquan Thurman, Sr., F (6-5).

Other Key Returnees: James Freeman, So., G/F (6-3); Cody Young, So., G (5-9); Davis Amos, So., F (6-3). Key Newcomers: Nkosi Abernathy, Jr., F (6-5); Richard Ables, Sr., G/F (6-3); Jaylan Harper, Jr., G (5-10).

Outlook: Hickory returns a wealth of experience and talent led by the senior trio of Bell (10 ppg, 8 rpg), James (13 ppg, 6 rpg) and Thurman (12 ppg, 8 rpg) from a team that won 24 games and advanced to the 3A state quarterfinals, before falling to eventual state champion, Cox Mill. Coach Andy Poplin and company also get back three part-time starters in Amos, Freeman and Young, who provide the depth and interchangeable parts to give the Red Tornadoes a great chance to challenge for the Northwestern 3A/4A conference title. Hickory will also be a dangerous playoff team with a veteran team that knows how to win in the postseason.

--JAY EDWARDS

HICKORY CHRISTIAN

Head Coach: Gary Bowne (6th year as Hickory Christian basketball coach; 30th year coaching overall).

2016-17 Record: 15-12 (7-5 in the Southern Piedmont Athletic Association (SPAA)).

2017-18 Conference: Southern Piedmont Athletic Association/NCISAA 1A.

Returning Starters (3): Eli Sigmon, Sr., PG (6-1); Andy Cook, Jr., F (6-4); Tommy McGrath, Sr., G (6-0).

Other Key Returnees: Tim Tysinger, Sr., F (6-2); Luke Harris, Jr., SG (5-8); Jack McMahon, Jr., F (6-4). Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: The Knights have held their own in a tough, SPAA, going 15-12 last year, finishing 4th in league play (7-5). Hickory Christian returns three starters, led by seniors, Sigmon (7 ppg) and McGrath (5 ppg, 3 apg) and junior in Cook (6 ppg, 6 rpg), which should give them a good chance to finish in the middle of the league standings and in the playoff picture for the 2nd straight season.

--JAY EDWARDS

MAIDEN

Head Coach: Danny Anderson (3rd year as Maiden basketball coach; 36th year overall).

Coaching Career Record: 673-239.

2016-17 Record: 15-11 (7-7 in the Southern District 7 (SD7) Conference).

2017-18 Conference: South Fork 2A Conference.

Returning Starters (3): Dylan Richardson, Sr., F (6-1); Avery Boyles, Jr., F (6-2); Caleb McDaniel, Jr., G (5-10).

Other Key Returnees: Mike Cooke, Sr., F/G (6-3); Mason High, Jr., G (6-0); Josh Coulter, Sr., G/F (6-3); Luke Laney, Sr., G (6-1). Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: After winning 33 games combined from 2008-2014, Maiden has won 29 games in the last seasons under legendary Coach Anderson. This year, the Blue Devils should be even better with three full-time starters back in Boyles (8 ppg), McDaniel (5 ppg) and Richardson (8 ppg), and four other key rotation players returning to provide superior depth. Coach Anderson, who has won 673 career games (74 percent), believes his team can challenge for a South Fork 2A title, and get back to the playoffs for a 3rd straight season (Anderson has been to playoffs all 35 years of his coaching career), after missing the previous five postseasons.

--JAY EDWARDS

NEWTON CONOVER

Head Coach: Matt Wilkinson (3rd year as Newton Conover basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 130-199.

2016-17 Record: 4-21 (3-11 in the Southern District 7 Conference (SD7)).

2017-18 Conference: South Fork 2A Conference.

Returning Starters (1): Noah Smith, Sr., F (6-5). Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: Newton Conover will have an extremely young team with only one starter back in senior forward, Smith (5 ppg 5 rpg), which is not a recipe for success in what will be a highly competitive, South Fork 2A conference. The Red Devils will likely be in rebuilding mode this season as their younger players develop for the future.

--JAY EDWARDS

ST. STEPHENS

Head Coach: Murphy Post (7th year as St. Stephens’ basketball coach, 11th overall).

Coaching Career Record: 68-85.

2016-17 Record: 10-15 (3-11 in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Northwestern 3A/4A Conference.

Returning Starters (1): Luther Scott, Sr., PG (6-0).

Other Key Returnees: Drew Cline, Sr., F (6-3); Bryce DeSantis, Sr., F (6-2). Key Newcomers: Ezequiel Figueroa Del Valle, Sr., F (6-5).

Outlook: St. Stephens has struggled in recent years, winning 21 games combined in the last three seasons. But the Indians return eight seniors, led by point guard, Luther Scott, which should give them a chance to move up the NW3A/4A conference ladder and back into the playoff contention.--JAY EDWARDS

Note: Challenger did not respond to our request for preseason information.

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