on the boards If you’re going to win games, you’ve got to take care of business on the boards. Rebounds drive second-chance shots and shuts down the opposition’s possessions. These four players are poised to give their squads a big advantage on the boards.
EMILY MAUPIN, COVENANT GIRLS Emily Maupin pulled in a tremendous 20.1 rebounds per game last year, tops among all area players, girls or boys. Having the Elon-bound forward back is a huge boost for the Eagles, virtually guaranteeing an edge on the glass. BRYCEN NEWBY, BUCKINGHAM COUNTY BOYS The lone returning starter for the Knights, Newby is a strong post presence on both ends of the court for the Knights at 6-foot-4. He’s particularly potent as a rebounder, averaging 9.4 boards per contest. That’s a solid building block for the Knight as they look to rebuild. SIERRA SMITH, ST. ANNE’S-BELFIELD GIRLS Sierra Smith just has a different set of values when when it comes to basketball. Smith puts a premium on defense and rebounding above all else, and STAB’s squad has been reaping the benefits. At 12.9 boards per game, she’s an absolute force underneath and when she finds Bri Tinsley, Jayla Davis or Jovia Winkey on the outlet, STAB’s becomes particularly dynamic. KAJUAN STINNIE & KHALIL VEST, CHARLOTTESVILLE BOYS While the Black Knights will likely still be a guard-driven team, Kajuan Stinnie (6-foot-4) and Khalil Vest (6-foot-3) give them some height in the paint and the potential to clean up on the boards. If that tandem can use that height and turn last year’s flashes of brilliant play into a night-in and night-out effort, it’ll be huge for Charlottesville.
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season averaging 14.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. Come tournament time, he performed well enough to earn his way to the All-Group 5A first team squad. With Hahn back in a familiar role after his All-Group 5A second team effort last season, the Patriots are in good shape. They have the program’s all-time leading scorer in Katstra and in Hahn, a player poised to finish second in that department. These two aren’t just seniors, they’ve played two high school careers worth each. But the Patriots looks from last year change quickly after you get past their cornerstone duo. “We are pretty different from last year personnel wise and so we are going with a bit of a different strategy on offense,” Katstra said. “We have a lot of tall, quick guards that can help us and our offense has looked really good coming out of camp.” J’Quan Anderson, Cartier Key and Na’il Arnold all came off the bench last season and are poised to have breakout seasons on the hardwood. Anderson’s a more physical presence at guard than the Patriots have had in awhile. With the addition of Maxx Jarmon, the top talent from Albemarle’s JV squad last year, Albemarle has some tinkering to do, but Katstra likes what he’s seen so far. “All of these guys have gotten a lot better since last season,” Katstra said. “J’Quan is bigger and faster. Maxx has developed his shot. Cartier is just better, has improved all around. And all the other guys have worked hard too. So I’ve been really impressed by all of them.” Of course, the football program didn’t exactly make it easy on coach Greg Maynard. The Patriots playoff push kept a pair of projected starters in Anderson and Arnorld from practicing until late November, making the chemistry building process all that much more difficult. But there’s a solid trade off in that scenario. Albemarle has just got an injection of talent that’s eager to win, to try and put a difficult end to the fall behind them with a strong start this winter. “We’ve got four guys who’ve only been with us for three days (before Thanksgiving),” Katstra said. “It’s been fun having them back from football but we’re definitely looking to build off of their run, their passion, their fire.” At the end of the day though, this team was and will continue to be defined by Katstra’s athleticism down low and Hahn’s ability to take over games with his shooting. So for these two seniors, the job is somewhat simple in that they just have to be who’ve they’ve always been. However, as seniors, they have new roles as vocal leaders. “We had six seniors last year, so it’s definitely up to us to take more of a leadership role,” Katstra said. “We have to step up, help the new guys learn what they need to, things like that. It’s really just about bringing the team closer.” There’s no doubt that this will be a different looking, different operating Albemarle team this year. But if Katstra and company can channel what they found last year in February and March, there’s no reasons the results should be any different in 2016-2017. For this team, a decent showing in the Region 5A North tournament isn’t going mean much. Those days are behind them for right now. ✖