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Basketball season kicked off Monday in Robeson County with a packed house for the Lumberton-Fairmont game.
Each program in Robeson County has had varying levels of success in recent years, and everyone will be looking to repeat that in one way or another this season.
In alphabetical order, here’s a look at each boys’ basketball team in Robeson County.
Fairmont Golden Tornadoes
After missing the playoffs last season, Fairmont (9-4 overall, 5-2 in conference last season; 0-2 this season) appears to be once again the hit program of the past decade. They will do it with an athletic team.
âOne of the things we’re focusing on is trying to get basketball going and playing basketball as a team,â said Golden Tornados coach Montrell McNair. âWe don’t have a dominant player; we have players who can be dominant, but we don’t have a single dominant player. So we want more of a team focused team.
While Fairmont may not have a dominant player, several of them will do their part.
âCam Sweat he can be that player, Savonte can be that shooter,â McNair said. âIt’s a young team, a first year student. Walker (Chavis) is playing hard. Inside, Jacob (Hunt) and Jamari (Watson), they play basketball well, they just have to learn to play flawlessly. We have to play smart. And Tyrus (Morris) is going to be that player for us, that energy guy.
The Golden Tornadoes lost to Lumberton on Monday and Scotland on Tuesday, but McNair is confident his side are ultimately headed in the right direction.
âWe have a long season ahead of us, and we have a lot of growth to do, and we have time to grow,â said McNair. “But we’ll get there.”
Pirates of Lumberton
Lumberton (13-3 overall, 7-1 conference last season; 1-0 this season) don’t quite have the same staff as the teams that have made the back-to-back 4A East Regional finals and have been the State co-champions in 2020. But coach Bryant Edwards has the same standards for this year’s squad.
“JB (Brockington) is the only one (on this team) to have played significant minutes on this state champion team,” said Edwards. âIt’s a new team, a new environment, but the same culture, the same principles. Everything is already built; we just have to build on it.
Brockington, a junior guard, and senior forward Angel Bowie will take on the team’s leadership roles once others graduate.
âA lot of our growth with this team has pushed (JB and Angel) to be more vocal, to be more aggressive on leadership qualities,â said Edwards. “They had to start talking more, they had to start leading by example, they had to play a bigger role.”
Kenston Skipper and Tre Lewis return to the post and Jacob Hammonds and Cobe Oxendine in the backcourt. Key newcomers include goalkeeper Patrick McBryde and forward Jaquese Graham.
âThey’re going to play hard, they’re going to give us good minutes and they’re going to really contribute, which makes me excited for this team,â said Edwards.
Purnell Swett Rams
Seeking to take a step forward, Purnell Swett’s men’s basketball team (3-9 overall, 3-7 in conference last season; 1-0 this season) got off to a good start with the victory of Tuesday over Red Springs. Rams coach Jeremy Sampson hopes his team can maintain this level of play in the long term.
â(We have to) keep buying on the defensive side and playing as a unit. Taking care of the ball offensively and not making so many mistakes, I think we can surprise some people.
The Rams have nine seniors on the roster this season. While struggling last year, they ended the season on a high note by winning two consolation games in the uniquely structured Sandhills Sports Conference Tournament.
âLast year was a crazy year, but we ended up with a two-game winning streak,â Sampson said.
Key Rams comebacks include guards Chandler McNeill, Garyen Maynor and Connor Harris and forward Josiah Brooks. Zamarian Davis and Markus Lowry come from JV full time.
âMarkus will be a good addition,â said Sampson. “Zamarian is a quick guard.”
In addition to Josiah Brooks, Sampson expects Riley Brooks to have an impact on the job.
âI think we’re not going to be one guy who stands out, but a pretty balanced team every night,â Sampson said.
Red Devils of Red Springs
Glenn Patterson Jr. succeeds his father at Red Springs (7-5 ââoverall, 6-1 in conference last season; 0-1 this season) after 25 years of Glenn Patterson Sr.’s tenure as head coach of the Red Devils.
âThe pressure is there of course, taking over from my dad and trying to put together a young backcourt,â Patterson Jr. said.
This backcourt includes sophomores Kaedon Porter and Kohnner Oxendine and seniors Dylan Dean, Noah Chavis and Johnny Chavis.
âI’m trying to get them to understand the level and the pace that we have to play now,â Patterson Jr. said. âWe’re just trying to get these guys to adjust.â
The Red Devils shooters struggled against Purnell Swett on Tuesday, but are expected to be a key part of the team’s offense.
âWe are always trying to find the rhythm. I spoke to our guys, we have reps, but they have to translate it.
Seniors Henry Buie, Mario Leonard and Jaaron Monroe, junior Carnelius Manning and sophomore Chris Bryant are each expected to contribute in the Red Devils’ frontcourt.
âNow even though they were there they now have to adjust to that lead role, making sure they take all the pressure off, making sure we do our job on the pitch by putting our guys in. up, âPatterson Jr. said.
Last season, St. Pauls (14-1 overall, 7-1 in conference last season) was eliminated from the playoffs due to COVID-19 protocols before the second round. That, the success of another team on campus, are motivators for this year’s team.
âWe still have things on the table that we need to conquer,â Bulldogs coach Corey Thompson said. “Our guys are motivated, and especially with our season, after the success of our football team, they see that yes, we can do it here in St. Pauls.”
Key returns include guards Jeyvian Tatum, last season’s Three Rivers Conference Player of the Year, Josh Henderson and Shaun Emanuel and forward Marcus Galbreath.
“Not only are (Tatum and Henderson) great players, they’re great teammates as well,” said Thompson. “They do a really good job of encouraging, getting their teammates started because they know they can’t do everything themselves.”
Newcomers who will make an impact include Elijah Blanding, Lukus Osborne and Cameron Revels in the frontcourt.
âJust as important as Josh and Jeyvian, these four guys are also very important,â said Thompson.
St. Pauls opens its season in Lumberton on December 7th.
âWe’re thrilled to have this core of mostly older guys, and younger guys as well, but this will probably be the first time we’ve had a veteran-led squad, so I’m very excited about that,â he said. Thompson said. .