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First Baptist High School
Charleston

Experienced Hurricanes set to make run at state title

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

James Island – Armed with a talented, veteran squad, First Baptist boys basketball coach Tony Eady is looking for a state title run in 2018-19.

The Hurricanes will have the weapons to contend for the SCISA state AAA title but performing on the biggest stage will be the test. First Baptist has to contend with three-time defending state champion Porter-Gaud, as well as Pinewood Prep, in their own region. Cardinal Newman out of Columbia is the top-ranked team in AAA.

“Oh, we know we have a tremendous challenge ahead of us but this team has been building for this season for the last three years so we think we can contend,” Eady says. “We have four senior starters. We have some weapons. We just have to be a little more consistent in what we do. We’re excited.”

First Baptist won six of its first 10 games against a competitive early schedule that included participation in the Rotary Roundball Classic. The Hurricanes have been involved in several close games, which Eady says is making his team mentally tougher for the stretch run.

“We have lost some close games, won a few close games, but we are competing very well,” the coach said. “We know we have to be at our best from here on out. These are the games that really count and I like our chances if we can play well.”

Eady says, “we go as our guards go.” The Hurricanes have three senior starting guards, all in their third or fourth year as key contributors. Mikey Dukes, one of the state’s top football prospects, leads the Hurricanes in scoring at nearly 20 points per game.

Devin Dean is a three-point shooting threat, also averaging in double figures, while Joseph Powell is the steady, consistent leader at the point. Tylan Major, Von McNeil and McGuire Weekley come off the bench and provide quality depth in the backcourt.

 Senior Xavion Washington is the most experienced post player but has been in and out of the lineup in the first month. Eighth-grader Gabriel Frazier, 6-4 junior Sincere Brown, and 6-9 sophomore Jacob Crawford are getting time in the post as well. Matt Hubble also sees time as a forward.

“We are kind of by committee in the post but we put a lot on the guards to produce offensively and create turnovers on the defensive end,” Eady said. “Our seniors have to carry the load. It’s their time.”

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