Prep Insider Blog

Boys Basketball Team Capsules: Union County

Piedmont’s boys, led by Clemson recruit Hunter Tyson (center) are hoping to challenge for the Southern Carolina championship this season
Piedmont’s boys, led by Clemson recruit Hunter Tyson (center) are hoping to challenge for the Southern Carolina championship this season

Here are previews for boys basketball programs in the Observer’s coverage area in South Carolina. The profiles were put together by Observer correspondent Jay Edwards.

To see more county previews, visit this link

CENTRAL ACADEMY

Head Coach: David Daniels (3rd year as Central Academy basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 14-136.

2016-17 Record: 2-23 (0-10 in the Rocky River Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Rocky River Conference/2A.

Returning Starters (3): Isaiah Hamilton, Sr., F; Bryson Miller, Sr., G; Dalton Bain, Jr., G. Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: Coach David Daniels and the Cougars have struggled lately with just four wins in the last two years combined, and it’s not getting any easier in the Rocky River conference. But Central Academy will look to seniors in Miller (14 ppg) and Hamilton (6 ppg, 9 rpg) to try to make the steep climb out of the bottom of the league standings and get the program going in the right direction.

--JAY EDWARDS

CUTHBERTSON

Head Coach: Mike Helms (9th year as Cuthbertson basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 355-232.

2016-17 Record: 10-15 (4-6 in the Southern Carolinas’ Conference (SCC)).

2017-18 Conference: Southern Carolinas’ Conference/3A.

Returning Starters (1): Myles Brown, Sr., G (6-1).

Other Key Returnees: John Wilbur, Jr., F/C (6-5). Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: The Cavaliers won 39 games from 2014-16, but slipped to 10-15 last year. With only one starter back in Brown (11 ppg) life won’t be easy in a SCC that becomes much tougher with Charlotte Catholic and Monroe joining the league. Coach Helms believes this team can finish in the upper half of the league standings, but Cuthbertson will have to prove they can reload quickly with a younger, overall team.

--JAY EDWARDS

FOREST HILLS

Head Coach: Matt Sides (6th year as Forest Hills’ basketball coach; 10th year overall).

Coaching Career Record: 160-88 overall; 103-40 at Forest Hills.

2016-17 Record: 26-5 (9-1 in the Rocky River Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Rocky River 2A Conference.

Returning Starters (4): Nas Tyson, Jr., G (6-1); Jaleel McLaughlin, Sr., G (5-11); Jai Rorie, Jr., G (5-9); Keeshawn Taylor, Jr., F (6-3).

Other Key Returnees: Trey Brelin, Jr., F (6-3); Cam Richardson, Jr., G (5-7); Josh Owens, So., F (6-3). Key Newcomers: Jamylan Blakeney, Fr., F (6-6).

Outlook: Forest Hills has won 54 games in the last two seasons, winning back-to-back, Rocky River conference titles while also going to the 2A state semifinals (Final 4) in each campaign.

This year, Forest Hills could be even better with four starters back led by Tyson (21 ppg. 8 rpg), Rorie (15 ppg/hit 132 three-pointers last season) and McLaughlin (11 ppg) in the backcourt, while junior forward, Trey Brelin returns from a knee injury and 6-foot-6, freshman Jamylan Blakeney (Division I prospect) will bolster the frontcourt. Forest Hills has many reasons to believe this is their year to win a state championship, now they to go out and prove it.

--JAY EDWARDS

MARVIN RIDGE

Head Coach: Adam Haines (4th year as Marvin Ridge basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 42-38.

2016-17 Record: 17-12 (5-5 in the Southern Carolinas’ Conference (SCC)).

2017-18 Conference: Southern Carolinas’ Conference.

Returning Starters (4): David Vogt, Sr., G (5-8); Bryce Carnohan, Sr., G (6-0); Connor Ryan, Sr., F (6-5); Riley Berrey, Sr., F (6-6).

Other Key Returnees: Garrett Bohannon, Jr., G (6-0); Sam Cardwell, Jr., G (6-0). Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: Marvin Ridge will have great continuity with nine varsity players back, including four senior, starters in Berrey (5 ppg), Carnohan (8 ppg, 4 apg), Ryan (5 ppg) and Vogt (4.5 apg). While Coach Haines says the Mavericks don’t have one go-to player, the do possess to overall talent to finish in the upper half of the SCC and be a difficult playoff matchup with the balance and experience.

--JAY EDWARDS

METROLINA CHRISTIAN

Head Coach: Michael Wilson (8th year as Metrolina Christian basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 16-15 (4-6 in the Metrolina Athletic Conference (MAC)).

2017-18 Conference: Metrolina Athletic Conference/NCISAA 3A.

Returning Starters (3): Tyler Nelson, Sr., G (6-5); Tate Johnson, Jr., PG (6-1); Tyler Anderson, Sr., G (6-0). Key Newcomers: Stephen Clark, Jr., F (6-7).

Outlook: The Warriors posted their first winning season since the 2012-13 campaign last year, going 16-15. Coach Wilson and company will look to build on that with an experienced team led by the backcourt in Anderson (10 ppg), Johnson (10 ppg, 4 apg) and Nelson (10 ppg, 4 rpg). Metrolina Christian has the talent to make a move up the MAC standings and get into the playoff picture.

--JAY EDWARDS

MONROE

Head Coach: Johnny Sowell (29th year as Monroe basketball coach; 32nd year of coaching overall).

Coaching Career Record: 441-199.

2016-17 Record: 11-9 (6-4 in the Rocky River Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Southern Carolinas’ Conference/3A.

Returning Starters (4): Salen Streater, So., PG (5-10); Tyshon Houston, Sr., SG (5-11); Trey Shepherd, Jr., G/F (6-2); Traevon Kenion, Jr., F (6-3).

Other Key Returnees: Jakobe Chambers, Jr., C (6-2). Key Newcomers: Deveyon Sturdivant-Rorie, Sr., G (5-10).

Outlook: Coach Sowell had guided his Monroe teams to 441 games in three decade-plus tenure, but his Redhawk teams were so-so last year going 11-9. This year, Monroe takes on a new challenge in the SCC. The Redhawks return four starters, led by Shepherd (7 ppg, 6 rpg) and Streater (13 ppg) and have made a habit of rising to the challenge under Sowell. Expect Monroe to be right in the thick of the SCC race and in playoff position in their 1st year in class 3A.

--JAY EDWARDS

PARKWOOD

Head Coach: Jamal McGee (16th year as Parkwood basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 114-134.

2016-17 Record: 12-13 (7-3 in the Rocky River Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Rocky River 2A Conference.

Returning Starters (4): Sanaah McGee, Sr., G (6-1); Chandler McClendon, Jr., G (5-8); Brody Batson, Sr., F (6-3); Nick Saldiveri, Sr., F/C (6-6). Key Newcomers: C.J. Massey, Jr., G (5-11); Josh Rankin, Jr., G (5-5); Tanner Knight, G (6-0).

Outlook: Parkwood faces the enviable task of moving into the brutal, Southern Carolinas’ Conference (SCC). The Rebels do return four starters, led by all-conference, senior guard, McGee (13 ppg), but it’s going to be tough to finish in the upper half of the league standings and get into the playoff picture.

--JAY EDWARDS

PIEDMONT

Head Coach: Jay Fitts (2nd year as Piedmont basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 16-11 (6-4 in the Southern Carolinas’ Conference (SCC)).

2017-18 Conference: Southern Carolinas’ Conferences/3A.

Returning Starters (3): Hunter Tyson, Sr., F (6-8) (Clemson commit); Camden Baucom, Sr., G (6-3); Ryan Ruettgers, Sr., C (6-6).

Other Key Returnees: Matthew Climbingbear, Sr., G (5-9); Trip Fesmire, Sr., G/F (6-3). Key Newcomers: Quame McClendon, So., G/F (6-3) (Anson County transfer); Josiah Hall, Jr., PG (5-9).

Outlook: After winning just 14 games in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, Piedmont won 16 games and finished 2nd in the SCC last year. This season, with the versatile senior trio of Tyson (25 ppg/Clemson commit), Baucom (8 ppg) and Ruettgers back and Anson County transfer, McClendon (9 ppg, 5 rpg), the Panthers believe they can be a serious, SCC contender. Piedmont will also be a tough playoff matchup with one of the state’s best players in 6-foot-8 Tyson, who can play multiple positions and shoot from anywhere on the court, and is capable of taking over a game at any time.

--JAY EDWARDS

PORTER RIDGE

Head Coach: Greg Wenger (2nd year as Porter Ridge basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 9-14 (3-9 in the Southwestern 4A Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Southwestern 4A Conference.

Returning Starters (5): Jide Huntley, Jr., G (6-2); Kelsey Franklin, Sr., F (6-5); Josh Massey, Jr., G (6-5); Cameron Stitt, Jr., F (6-7); Grayson McCall, Jr., G/F (6-3).

Other Key Returnees: James White, Sr., C (6-6); Christian Sadler, Sr., G (6-0). Key Newcomers: Tairei White, G (5-11); Chris Gill, G (6-1).

Outlook: Porter Ridge hasn’t had a winning season since the 2007-08 campaign. This year won’t be any easier a tough, SW4A conference that just got tougher with Hickory Ridge in the league. But, the Pirates return all five starters in Franklin (7 ppg), Huntley (8 ppg), Massey (6 ppg), McCall (7 ppg) and Stitt (10 ppg), which gives them a balance and experience to be more competitive and try to climb their way up the conference ladder high enough to make the playoffs.

--JAY EDWARDS

SUN VALLEY

Head Coach: Keith Mason (11th year as Sun Valley basketball coach)

Coaching Career Record: 163-97.

2016-17 Record: 15-12 (4-6 in the Southern Carolinas’ Conference (SCC)).

2017-18 Conference: Southern Carolinas’ Conference/3A.

Returning Starters (0): None.

Other Key Returnees: Ethan LeGrand, Sr., F (6-6); Cory Goddard, Sr., G (6-3); Dorian Shinhoster, Jr., F (6-3). Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: Coach, Keith Mason, has proven he can win consistently at Sun Valley, but the Spartans have a tough task on their hands without any starters returning in an even more brutal, SCC, with Charlotte Catholic and Monroe in the league. Sun Valley will look to seniors in Goodard and LeGrand to lead their frenetic, full court pace that makes them a difficult matchup. If the Spartans can keep their tempo, and find consistent scoring options, they should be able to finish in the middle of the conference standings and in playoff position.

--JAY EDWARDS

UNION ACADEMY

Head Coach: Brandon Rains (2nd year as Union Academy basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 63-65.

2016-17 Record: 14-12 (5-5 in the Yadkin Valley 1A Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Piedmont Athletic Conference 7 (PAC 7/1A).

Returning Starters (4): Derek Young, So., C (6-4); Mark Davidson, Sr., PG (5-11); Johnny Anderson, Jr., G (5-8); Cameron Phronebarger, Jr., F (6-4).

Other Key Returnees: Jalen Anderson, So., G (6-1). Key Newcomers: Kalip McFadden, Jr., F (6-3) (Tabernacle Christian Academy transfer); Daniel Hasty, Jr., G (6-2)

Outlook: Union Academy had their 1st winning season in nearly a decade in Coach Rains (Yadkin Valley conference coach of the year last season) 1st year at the helm. This year, the Cardinals look to keep their momentum going in the new, PAC 7 (1A) conference with four starters back led by all-conference, sophomore, Young (14.4 ppg), senior point guard, Davidson (5.3 apg) and junior guard, Anderson (10.5 ppg). Rains and company have the experience and talent to finish in the upper echelon of the league and go further than the deeper in the postseason (lost 1st round last year).

--JAY EDWARDS

WEDDINGTON

Head Coach: Gary Ellington (10th year as Weddington basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 183-84.

2016-17 Record: 21-8 (9-1 to win the Southern Carolinas’ Conference (SCC) championship).

2017-18 Conference: Southern Carolinas’ Conference.

Returning Starters (0): None.

Other Key Returnees: Max Brimigion, Jr., PG (5-11); Brock Peeler, Sr., SG (5-11); Jared Applegate, Jr., SG (6-4); Charles Pinner, Sr., F (6-8); Caleb Dixon, Sr.,, C/F (6-5). Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: After 42 wins and two consecutive, SCC championships in the last two seasons, Weddington will look to reload in a league that just got tougher with Charlotte Catholic and Monroe joining the conference. Coach Ellington is a proven winner, averaging 20 wins in his Warrior’s tenure. While nothing is going to come easy, no one will be surprised if Weddington is right in the thick of the SCC race, and a much better team by mid-February when the postseason starts.

--JAY EDWARDS

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