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Carolina Academy High School
Lake City

Bobcats ready for strong finish in region play

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Lake City – It took a little longer than expected but the Carolina Academy girls basketball team put it all together for their first win of the season on January 15th.

The Bobcats lost their first seven games of this season as coach Stevie Phillips worked to put together a cohesive unit with a young squad. The Bobcats have been competitive in some games early but finally found the right chemistry in their win over Calhoun Academy.

Madison Lee, one of only two seniors on the roster, scored 13 points and freshman Grace Weaver added 10. Sophomore Vandi Timmons scored nine points as the team had their most productive night offensively of the season with 45 points.

Morgan Martin is the team’s only other senior while Haley Sims is the lone junior. The rest of the squad is comprised of junior varsity aged players.

Jaimee Epps, Madison Burgess, Lara Abuaita and Harley Welch are the other sophomores on this year’s team. Rachel Yarborough joins Weaver as the freshmen.

The team is hoping to put together a few more victories before the end of the season. They played Wardlaw Academy on January 18th and will take on Palmetto Christian in a region contest on January 22nd. Williamsburg Academy is the opponent on January 25th, followed by Thomas Sumter on January 29th and a non-region game against Wilson Hall on January 30th.

A rematch with Calhoun Academy ends the January schedule. The season wraps with region games against Northside Christian, Palmetto Christian and Williamsburg Academy.

The boys team, coached by Robert Phillips, is having better success this season. A win over Calhoun Academy improved the overall record to 6-3 this season.

“I’m pretty pleased overall, just to need to keep working and improving” the coach says.

The Bobcats have four seniors this season but only two are starting. The rest of the starting lineup consists of three sophomores.

“We have good young talent and they will only get better with time,” Phillips said. “We’re developing good chemistry on the floor with those seniors and young guys.”

The two starting seniors are Will Epps and Matthew Lamb. Epps is the team’s best and most consistent offensive player, averaging about 16 points per game early on. He has been in double figures in every game, including a 24-point effort in a loss to Laurence Manning.

“He’s our best scorer but we’re getting more balance offensively this year,” Phillips said. “We are getting contributions from several guys, which gives Will some opportunities because the other guys have to be guarded too.”

Lamb also starts and is averaging about seven points per game. The team is showing good offensive balance of late with four players scoring in double figures in the win over Calhoun, led by Lamb’s 14 points.

Sophomore Matthew Joye is back as the starting point guard, adding about 8.5 points per game. His ability to handle the ball and distribute are his strengths.

“The way he handles the basketball makes it really hard for teams to press us and that’s a big asset,” Phillips said. “He’s really good with the ball and he can score as well.”

Sophomore Cade Castles began the season as the sixth man but has worked into a starting role, averaging about eight points per game. He had 10 points in the win over Calhoun. Sophomore Matt Gaskins starts inside and is a good rebounder who plays with high energy on both ends of the floor.

The other two seniors are Wilson Long and Rees Powell. Juniors off the bench include Noah Dangerfield, Mac Timmons, Caleb Matthews, Tyler Galloway and Cody Sauls.

The Bobcats compete in a competitive region that includes Palmetto Christian, Northside Christian, Thomas Sumter, Calhoun Academy and Williamsburg Academy.

 Carolina posted early region wins over Calhoun and Thomas Sumter but dropped a close game to Northside Christian. Like the girls, they still have two games left with Williamsburg and Palmetto Christian, as well we single region games with Calhoun, Thomas Sumter and Northside Christian.

“It’s a battle every night so we have to come mentally ready to play,” Phillips said. “I feel like we’re capable of being in the hunt for the region title. Again, we just need to continue working and becoming more consistent at what we do.”

 

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