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Williamsburg Academy High School
Kingstree

Williamsburg Academy basketball teams struggling for success

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Kingstree – Having lost four seniors from last year’s team, Williamsburg Academy girls basketball coach Ken Kellahan knew his 2018-19 team would need some time on the court to gel into a competitive unit.

Williamsburg opened this season with a 2-5 record, losing to quality teams but getting better with each outing. Since the start, the team has won just one of its last six games to sit at 3-10 overall. A competitive early schedule has not had the results that Kellahan had hoped for.

“We have four seniors so we have some experience returning but we also have several up from the jayvee program that we’re trying to work in and get them acclimated to the varsity game,” Kellahan said. “The record isn’t great right now but I think we’re getting better. We’ve been hot and cold for the most part. It’s kind of a roller coaster ride where we look pretty good then take a dip. But we are showing signs of coming together, Like everyone, we’re just looking for consistency.”

Senior Madi Wadford returns this season as the starting point guard and senior Kinslee Wilson joins her in the backcourt and is the team’s best scorer.

“Madi does a little bit of everything and her experience is big factor for us,” Kellahan said. “She’s our floor general out there. She and Wilson have played a lot for us.”

Madison Lamb and Allie Brown are seniors that are in the starting lineup. Brown was the team’s sixth-man last year and has moved into a starting role.

Seniors Kayla Arnau and Raelee Rapley are seeing time off the bench with Arnau providing some post presence.

Newcomers from the junior varsity team include Sydney Anne Smith, Kendall McKenzie and Billie Easler. Juniors Lizzie Williamson and Blakely Owens are first-year players.

“We lack size so we don’t have much of an inside game,” Kellahan said. “Sometimes rebounding can be an issue but it is what it is. We have to rely on our hustle and try to scrap for everything we can get.”

The Stallions were able to post a 10-9 record last season and qualified for the Class AA state playoffs where they were beaten by eventual state champion Trinity-Byrnes. Kellahan feels this year’s team can be a playoff team as well.

“I feel like we can compete in our region and end up in the playoffs but I say that knowing we still have a long way to go,” Kellahan said. “I believe this team will compete. They hustle and play hard. They are getting after it on the defensive end with good effort. When the shots go in, we’re pretty good. Making shots makes me a better coach.

“I think our region is very competitive and we know we have to show up every night. The goal is to limit our bad outings and try to give ourselves a chance to win in every game.”

The region schedule will include two games each against Palmetto Christian, Carolina Academy, Calhoun Academy and Thomas Sumter Academy.

Meanwhile, the boys team is under new direction this season as former junior varsity coach Kevin Burrows takes the helm. The boys program has struggled to find success in recent years and is winless after six games of this season. Burrows, however, sees plenty of bright spots.

“We haven’t won yet but we are definitely getting better every game,” the coach said. “We are improving. The record may not show it but our playing is showing. We’ve had fourth quarter leads in several games this season but we haven’t been able to close it out. We’ll continue to work hard and we will find a way. It’s going to be alright. We’re going to be okay.”

Two returners from last season, Timothy Gamble and EJ Muldrow, have been the leaders early on. Burrows is getting a lot of effort and hustle from the rest of the squad and rewards that effort with playing time.

Remaining members of the team include Charlie Easler, Joe Kellahan, Ty Wadford, Tyler Tanner, Billy Price, Mitchell Floyd, Adam Moore, Nathan Whetsell, Carson Collins, Chase Tucker and Jacob Mouzon.

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