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Lake City High School

Lake City boys rebuilding on hardwood

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Lake City—The Lake City boys’ basketball team had a solid showing last year, finishing 17-6 overall and qualifying for the Class AAA playoffs. Their road back to the postseason will be much more difficult this time around as the Panthers lost eight players to graduation while two others transferred.

“We’ve got a lot of inexperienced kids, and we’re starting to see them mature a little bit,” said head coach Michael Manning. “They’re starting to come into their own, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. We’re going to get there. They’re young kids that are working hard.”

While the starting lineup has been revamped, two players in the initial rotation saw significant minutes as reserves a year ago. Raekwon Hailey should be one of Lake City’s top scorers while Eric Kennedy does a lot of the dirty work needed.

“Raekwon has been with us for three years, so we lean on him for leadership. He’s accepted that role and he’s getting better and better. Eric is just a hard-nosed kid that comes to play every night. They’re leading the other guys in the right direction,” Manning said.

Joining them is center Justin Johnson, a sophomore that didn’t play last year because of a broken bone in his kneecap. Johnson has a lot of potential and moved around well in the season opener against Kingstree.

“To see him play the way he did was very encouraging,” Manning said.

Malik Hailey and Jitravious Sherrill were the other two starters to begin the season, but the lineup could change at any time. Manning substitutes liberally each night, and any of the 17 players on the roster could play extended minutes.

E.T. McClam, Christopher Patterson, TyQuavious Smith, Nick Jones, Christopher Burnett and Keyshawn Cooper have been in the rotation early on, and Bryce McIntosh, Damovai Howard, TyQuan Witherspoon, Stephfon Rose, Zyhveal Washington and Marquel McKnight are other options.

The Panthers are 1-1 with a victory over East Clarendon and have Hannah-Pamplico next on the schedule. They will then wrap up home-and-home series with Kingstree and East Clarendon before opening conference play in January.

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