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Dillon High School

Dillon Girl’s Ranked Second In AAA, Boy’s Team Under new Coach Grice

By Billy G. Baker

Publisher

Dillon—Some teams just have that special blend of talent and unity and these two key factors define why the HSSR has ranked the undefeated Dillon girls’ basketball team number two in their latest ranking (9-0, 3-0) mid-way through the 2018-19 season.

The team is under the direction of coaching veteran James McMillian now entering his third season at Dillon after a long coaching stint at Cheraw where he won two region titles. “We graduated six players after my first season at Dillon and in my second season we had the opportunity to advance to the third round of the playoffs against Swansea where we lost by four points,” said Coach McMillian. “Now that we are entering our third season I feel like we have a very good team, so we hope to advance to at least the third-round if not further.

“There are a lot of great teams in the lower state like Bishop England, Marion, Manning and Swansea so we know we have to keep working hard and improving,” said Coach McMillian. “I always say that if coach your defense to limit teams to 40 points or less you are going to win a lot of games. We pride ourselves on playing great defense.”

The team returns four all-region players from a year ago led by highly regarded junior Jykya Bell, a 5-8-point guard. Bell is leading the team in scoring at 19.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.4 steals a game. “Jykya is like having a coach on the floor and she makes sure everyone is where they are supposed to be,” said Coach McMillian. “I truly feel she can play at the major college level. She is number two in her class academically and she is so unselfish on the court.

“She would rather pass off to a teammate and see them score over scoring herself,” said Coach McMillian. “She is as good a player as I’ve coached, and I have had several good ones over the years. Her curt sense is off the charts. She can score anytime she wants too. She has always been able to drive to the basket well but this year she has improved her shooting on the perimeter.”

The team’s senior leader is Ja’Ronda McCrimmon a strong post player averaging 10.2 points and 4.3 rebounds a game. “Ja’Ronda and Jykya are the ying and yang of the team and they communicate well together on the court,” said Coach McMillian. “Ja’Ronda is our top free throw shooter making 75 per cent of her shots.”

Another all-region returner is 5-7 junior guard Chyna Pouncey who is a good shooter. Pouncey is averaging 11.4 points and three rebounds a game. The team’s lock-down defensive specialist is 5-10 junior forward Shantazia Gordon. “She is very quick and athletic, and she always guards the opposing team’s top offensive player,” said Coach McMillian. Gordon is averaging 7.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.5 steals a game.

Sophomore Adrianna Ervin is still finding herself on offense, but she has helped the team as a strong rebounder. The first player off the bench is usually Alyse Hines, a 5-6 small forward. Hine is known as a good outside shooter. Other players contributing include senior guard Maleah Carter, junior guard Lacy Simmons, sophomore guard Deanna Lane. Senior forward Shaniya Page and senior forward Lucy Sellers are also hard-working members of the team.

“We have a lot of basketball still to play but I like our team chemistry and our tenacity on defense,” said Coach McMillian. “We want to hold teams to under 40 points and limit them to making only 15 shots or less per game.”

Coach McMillian is assisted by Michelle Keys Gibbons and Junior Boatwight.

Dillon Boys Basketball team Under New Head Coach Bryan Grice

Bryan Grice spent 30 years coaching basketball in North Carolina so after he retired from coaching at South Robeson High near Lumberton, N.C. last season he accepted the challenge of building the boys basketball program up at Dillon High.

“Our football team was once again competing for a state title, so we got half our players out after we had played a few games and we are just getting into basketball shape now,” said Coach Grice. “We have played 9 games where most of the teams we are playing have played a lot more. Our goal is to keep improving and hopefully be playing our best basketball once the playoffs start.”

The team is (4-5, 2-1) as of January 15th with region wins over Aynor and Loris.

The Wildcats are led by all-region candidate Zy’Nire Charles at 13 points and 3.2 assists a game. Senior guard Corrian Wright is averaging 8 points and 2.5 steals per contest and senior small forward Janquell Lampley is averaging six points an five rebounds a game.

The starting power forward is 6-2 junior Justin Green averaging 9 points and seven rebounds a game. Normal starting center Tyquan King (6-2, 210) is out for a couple games and he has been replaced by junior Damaria Ladson who earned all-tournament honors at the Robeson County Shoot-out over Christmas when he scored 42 points over three games.

 One of the first players off the bench is three-point specialist sophomore Branden Reaves along with senior Daizon Alford a defensive specialist. A few other players contributing include sophomore power forward Bo Bo Mckinnon. Sophomore forward Tyree Porter, and senior guard Matthew McDowell.

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