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Abbeville High School

Abbeville boys starting to gel in late season


By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Abbeville – It took a month or so to gain traction but the Abbeville High boys basketball team appears to have things on track as the regular season reaches the most critical stage.

The Panthers enter play on January 24th with an 8-4 record overall and a 3-1 record in region 2-AA, which puts them atop the region standings at the midway point of the region slate.

Abbeville coach Doug Belcher, now in his eighth season, says the season started slowly due to a late football season. Most of his roster participates in football so the coach is accustomed to needing some time in December to get his players in basketball shape.

Despite not having his full team together much during the first six weeks, due to injuries, Belcher sees a lot of chemistry with this year’s team.

“Most of this team is returning from last year so they know the system and they have played together,” said Belcher, who earned his 100th career win earlier this season. “We have good talent and good athleticism. We came into the year with high expectations and these guys have been putting it together of late. We know its important that we play well in the region.”

Abbeville’s lone region loss was a one-point setback to Fox Creek. Belcher says his team will remain in the chase to the end.

“I think we will be able to make our run,” the coach said. “We’re getting healthy and our depth is stronger now. I think staying healthy will be the key for us. We need all of our guys out there.”

The Panthers have a good mix in perimeter scoring and inside strength. On the outside, the main threats are seniors Titus Paul, Dre Watt and J.D. Moore. Paul leads the team in scoring at 14.9 points per game, up from 9.6 points last season. Paul recently scored 26 points in a win over Saluda and had a 24-point game in a win over Batesburg-Leesville.

Watt average 11.2 points per game last season but is up to 12.5 points this season. Moore is averaging 11.6 points per game, up from 7.3 points a year ago. Another key perimeter shooter is junior Kivionte Garner, who had a 17-point effort

Anchoring the inside game are seniors Natavious Norman and Jhalyn Shuler. Norman averaged 11 points and eight rebounds per game last season.

Providing depth for the Panthers are Dantavious Hill, Navi Marshall, Jonathan Jackson and Mykal Tinch.

“When we are shooting well and playing well defensively on the same night, we can be a real handful,” Belcher said. “We hope to continue to play better and be peaking come playoff time.”

Abbeville finished last season at 14-4 overall and went 8-2 in region play. The Panthers were eliminated by Andrew Jackson in the playoffs.

Dubose named head coach at Emerald

 Abbeville High athletic director Tad Dubose has been named the head football coach at Emerald High School.

Dubose also was the defensive coordinator and linebacker coach for the football team. He came to Abbeville as a coach in 2004 and took over as athletic director in 2007. Emerald will be his first head coaching position.



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