Friday, January 21, 2011

Right Direction: Young Greenwave squad out to prove themselves

PHOTO: O'Bannon freshman guard Erin Holmes brings the ball up the court.

GREENVILLE — There’s been a passing of the torch for the O’Bannon boys basketball team.
Gone are the days of Lekendrick Evans and Cadarrius Nelson manning the pant. No more Lawson Harris and Quadriguez Carter draining jumpshots. And Roderick Johnson isn’t on the floor to cleanup misses.
Those days are no more. Evans now suits up for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Nelson is at Mississippi Delta Community College, and the rest graduated.
In all, the Greenwaves lost eight seniors from last year’s 19-win team.
This year’s roster includes names like Traydavies Williams, Lavell Booker and Brandon Andrews — players who didn’t see much action last season.
After Thursday night’s 71-26 blowout victory over district foe Ackerman, it looks like the unheralded heroes have made a name for themselves.
“They’ve really surprised me with the way they’ve played,” said OBHS coach George Christian, whose team is now 12-7 and 2-1 in district play this season. “Most of these players didn’t play many minutes last year — if any.”
The Greenwaves have been scoring collectively for the most part, but senior Brandon Andrews has been the most consistent scorer. He led OBHS with 21 points Thursday against the Indians.
Andrews, who is one of only two seniors on the team, averages about 17 points per game.
“He’s real strong, a team leader and he plays hard every night,” said Christian.
While Andrews has put in work from long range, sophomore Traydavies Williams and junior Lavell Booker have replaced Nelson and Evans as the Greenwaves inside presence.
They average around 21 points per game combined.
“He’s small but he’s tough,” Christian said of Booker, a 6-foot-4, 150 pound center. “And his shot has come around now. He wasn’t shooting well at the beginning of the season, but his shot has come around now. And he’s on the boards and playing tough defense.”
And as the regular season nears its end, the Greenwaves seem to be “gelling at the right time,” said Christian. OBHS has won six out of their last eight games, with their two losses coming against county rivals Simmons and Greenville-Weston.
They have two district games remaining — they travel to Williams-Sullivan next Friday and host J.Z. George in a home finalé Feb. 4. They’ll also get another shot at Simmons on Feb. 1.
So how optimistic is coach Christian about his young team, which includes eight sophomores? And do they have a chance at making a run for a district title — or more?
“Yep,” said Christian. “We have as good of a shot as anybody else.”
Lady Waves
The Lady Waves defeated Ackerman Thursday night 44-28 behind 12 points apiece from Myiesha Stewart and Josette Richardson.
OBHS limited Ackerman to just two first quarter points and led 23-9 at halftime.
Kiara Bryant and Keyondria Williams chipped in seven points each while Jasmine Burns added five.

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