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Holly Hill Academy High School

Holly Hill Academy making progress in hoops

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

 Holly Hill – A lack of size, coupled with a lack of experience, makes for a rough go in the game of basketball. Unless a team has a bevy of talented shooters, winning games will be difficult.

Holly Hill Academy boys basketball coach Michael Nelson has won enough games over his career to understand what it takes to be successful. He is having to put every ounce of knowledge into this 2018-19 team.

Entering play on January 18, the Raiders were 2-8 overall. The aforementioned weaknesses of lack of size and experience have been issues.

“We get killed on the boards,” Nelson said. “We’re just big or physical enough inside. It’s not that we don’t try we’re just out-sized by just about every team we play.”

The Raiders have two capable scorers in senior guard Grayson Hopkins and freshman guard Jabari Sumpter. Hopkins is averaging 15 points per game while Sumpter is averaging 11 points per contest. No other player manages more than three or four points in a game.

“Not having a third consistent scorer hurts us because teams can do things to us defensively that make it tough to score,” Nelson said.

Ben Johnson is the only other senior on the roster this season. Along with Sumpter, two other freshmen seeing action are Marion Breland and Perrin Breland. Sophomores Crawford Thomas and Zach Pelloni also contribute.

“We’re basically a jayvee team playing a varsity schedule so if these young guys stick with it, we have a shot to be pretty good down the road. This group is working hard. Their effort has been great. I see us getting better individually and as a team. The record isn’t good but there are some positive things happening.”

Nelson also is the varsity head coach of the girls team. That group, also fairly young, has enjoyed better success, posting a 4-6 record through 10 games. They also are 3-4 in region play, which puts them in position to earn a playoff spot with a strong finish.

“We didn’t really have much experience when we started so we had to catch up,” says Nelson, who has four sophomores and an eighth-grader on his roster. “We’ve progressed pretty well but we still need to develop more girls who can score. But they play hard and there’s no drama. We’re getting better each day and we have a good future.”

Part of that good future is sophomore guard Brooke Fennessy, who leads the team in scoring at 18 points per game.

“She can score but with no help offensively, people are starting to throw a lot of stuff at her with double-teams and box-in-one defenses.”

Senior Anna Swank is a player with experience, along with sophomore Madison Steele.

 

 

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