Prep Hoops Preview: Bulldogs want top spot in CCC
Tony Clark may be a graduate of Lexington Senior High, but when it comes to his boys basketball team at Thomasville, the coach has seen enough of his alma mater at the top.
Running the table in Central Carolina Conference play last season, LHS has finished second or better the last three seasons while the Bulldogs have watched from a distance. With a truckload of players back from a 5-16 team that started playing quality basketball late last year that included a playoff berth, Thomasville is poised to make a run at the Yellow Jackets.
“We are going after the conference championship,” said Clark. “We are not envious of what Robert (Hairston) has done at Lexington, but certainly they have set the standard for basketball in our conference the last few years. Anytime you are trying to get to the top you have to go through the top. We feel like they are at the top.”
The squad has just two seniors but they are talented. Latrele Skeen and Dezmond Wilson are both forwards with different games. Skeen hovers around the perimeter while Wilson is more of a post player that can really attack the glass.
An athletic junior class makes up a majority of the team. THS has eight of them, led by point guard Demoris Payne and 6-6 center Traquan Ray. Joining Payne on the perimeter are junior guards Malik Johnson and Ike Marsh. Juniors in the post are Dwain Purvis and Shakeem Peterson.
Sophomore Brian McElveen gives the Bulldogs length off the bench along with fellow sophomore Akeem Davis.
Kamel Henry, Cedric Green and Malik Peterson provide additional depth.
“We are looking forward to this season,” Clark said. “All of our sophomores are now juniors and they have been playing together for awhile. It seems we have a deep team and we are going to take it game by game. We want that conference championship.”
Thomasville has traditionally used a swarming press to create offense and this year will be no different. Having 13 guys that can all play only helps in trying to wear down the opponent.
“Every team you cannot press, but when we see it is necessary we are going to put pressure on the ball,” said Clark. “Hopefully, even against the good teams we will pick our spots and do it.”
If the Bulldogs are to win the CCC, Clark is aware that Lexington is just one of many teams standing in the way. Both Salisbury and Central Davidson finished ahead of THS in the standings one year ago. With East Davidson and West Davidson fully capable of stealing a win, the Bulldogs better be ready every game.
“We have the type of conference that any night you can be beat,” said Clark.
Thomasville is 2-3 through five games.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.