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Optimism abounds for the Lancaster Bruins’ 2010-11 basketball season.
The LHS boys have a solid nucleus back from their 20-6 playoff team, while the Lady Bruins also have key returnees for the new campaign.
The Bruins, co-champions of Region IV-AAAA last season, have back six players, led by all-region pick Ron Trapps, a senior, and sophomore Sindarius Thornwell, the region’s newcomer of the year last season, and the preseason pick as region player of the year.
Trapps averaged 14.4 points a game. Thornwell, regarded as one of the state’s top sophomore players, hit nine points and grabbed an average of 9.5 rebounds a game as a freshman.
The team veterans include senior guards Jaquarius Montgomery and Forrest Woodard. Junior guards Nate Bush and Alan Robinson are also back for the Bruins, who are seeking their third straight postseason berth.
Robinson moved up to the varsity late in the season last winter after leading the Junior Bruins to the region title.
The Bruins’ squad also includes senior guard Lorenzo Scott, senior forward Qua Duncan, senior forward Derae Montgomery along with junior swing player Brien Clyburn and a pair of sophomores, forwards C.D. Pelham and Shai McCain.
“I feel confident we will compete and I feel, with this team, we have a chance to win each night,” said Priester, who is assisted by veteran aide Jerron Cauthen and Kyle Gaither.
Priester noted several keys for the Bruins, who went 2-1 in the Jackets Invitational Preseason tournament at Buford High School earlier this week when LHS finished as the tourney runner-up.
“We have to be consistent and do what is necessary to win,” he said. “We have to take care of the basketball, hit free throws and execute for four quarters. We can win, if we do these things.”
Priester said the region will be a battle.
LHS was picked to finish third behind Gaffney, which won the state title last season, and Northwestern. LHS was tabbed No. 5 in the Class AAAA preseason poll.
“The preseason ranking is nice, a real honor and great recognition for our program, school and community, but our focus is the final poll in March,” Priester said. “We still have to play each night when the ball goes up. We have to keep working and stay humble and hungry. Our success means we will be a target and draw our opponents’ top effort.”
The Lady Bruins, led by veteran coach Ronnie Robinson, are hoping to
improve on its 8-13 mark of last season and earn a postseason bid.
“I’m expecting a lot from this group,” Robinson said. “We were picked
fourth in the region race in the preseason region poll, but I think we can
do better and fare well.”
Robinson, assisted by Dwayne Robinson, has solid hope with a seasoned returning cast along with a strong group off the 10-4 Junior Lady Bruins team.
Senior post player Quana Jones, who recently signed to play volleyball at
Claflin Univeristy in Orangeburg, heads the returnees after averaging 8.6
points and 5.5 rebounds a game.
Jones, the team MVP and an all-region and all-county pick, is joined by
senior post player Shannon Truesdale along with freshman point guard Kyia
Hough, junior forward Tara Tipton and sophomore guard Chanda Nivens. Hough
averaged seven points a game, while Tipton grabbed 6.2 rebounds a game.
The newcomers include Sha’Ron Brunson, a sophomore guard who shared MVP
honors on the Junior Lady Bruins last season. Junior guard Shantail Evans,
who was the LHS jayvee girls Sportsmanship Award winner, moved up along
with A’Kidra Fraizier, a junior center who earned the Junior Lady Bruins’
Most Improved Award.
The new faces are senior forward Torri Cunningham, sophomore guard
Brittany Reese, junior forward Shanyse Fraizier and freshman guard Aliyah
“I’m excited about this team because we have more quickness,” Robinson
said. “We have to execute better on offense and reduce our turnovers.”
Robinson said Spartanburg is the preseason pick to win the region.
“We have a good group and it’s all about us going out and playing well
each night,” Robinson said.
Lancaster opens its season Tuesday when it visits Class AAAA foe Lugoff-Elgin. The Bruins host county foe Andrew Jackson on Friday night.
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u Contact sports editor Robert Howey at 283-1157