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Orangeburg Prep High School

Orangeburg Prep playing more as a team this season

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Orangeburg—This year’s Orangeburg Prep boys’ basketball team looks much different than the 2016-17 edition. The Indians graduated six seniors and roughly 50 points per game, but head coach Michael Nelson was not worried about replacing that production.

“We were excited about this year. I expected to compete and I told people this team would be fun to watch. They have a better chemistry. Our goal every year is to compete for a region championship and make the playoffs. This year with Wilson Hall, Florence Christian, Laurence Manning and us, it’s going to be a fun region,” Nelson said.

Orangeburg Prep has three sophomores, two juniors and a senior that see time in starting roles, with five of the six averaging at least eight points per game during the team’s 4-3 start.

“We’re playing a lot better team ball than we have in the past. We have a balanced scoring attack and don’t really have a go-to guy. Somebody new is always stepping up, which is encouraging because that makes us harder to guard. We have multiple threats this year and are unselfish with the ball. We’re young but talented,” Nelson said.

Leading the charge for the Indians is junior guard Ian Scott, who is scoring a team-high 12 points each night.

“He’s always been a set-up, three-point shooter, but this year’s he’s turned the corner and had quite a few points at the basket. In years past, 90 percent of his points came behind the three-point line. Now he’s attacking the rim,” Nelson said.

Bill Metts, the only senior in the lineup, has elevated his game to another level. The forward is posting a double-double for the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

“His leadership is crucial to our team. He’s gotten stronger around the rim and also improved his ball-handling, so he’s able to take guys off the dribble,” Nelson said.

Sophomore guard Benjamin Davis was the team’s sixth man last year as a freshman and continued to develop his game in the offseason. He’s scoring 11 points per contest while also recording eight steals.

“He’s very aggressive and has a knack for the ball. He has great anticipation. It’s not just his athleticism, it’s more of his IQ and his ability to read what’s going on offensively,” Nelson said.

Junior guard/forward Camron Ellis and sophomore forward Will Shaw are chipping in with eight points each, and sophomore guard Hunter McClain also mixes into the starting five.

Key reserves include senior forward Matheson Wannamaker and junior guard Peyton McDougal, who is nursing an elbow issue. Evan Lambrecht, another junior guard, was recently lost to injury.

Senior forward Thomas Brandon, junior guard Prerak Patel and junior forward Hunter Shafer round out the roster.

Orangeburg Prep will continue to prepare for conference action during the holiday break, as they host a Christmas tournament Dec. 28-30. Other teams participating include Calhoun Academy, Dorchester Academy and Clarendon Hall.

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