ROCKY POINT – When you coach at one of the smaller schools (1A) in the state, and in the area, getting candidates out for a team is always a problem and it definitely has been a chore for the coaches to find candidates at Heidi Trask High School.
But things are looking up for the girls as soon as they iron some early injury problems because Coach Lindsay Noble has an athletic group with good size and number on the practice floor and is feeling pretty good about her team’s chances for success, and for the boys who also will be fielding an athletic team with strong numbers and some size.
Noble begins her seventh season (29-40 as she enters her fourth as head coach) for the Lady Titans, and her hopes are that the team – with six returning players back in the fold – can improve on last year’s 14-12 mark, and make a strong run at one of the top three spots in the conference.
“We have good size, we are strong defensively, the girls are working hard and have a positive attitude, and we have strong senior leadership,” Noble said. “Right now we’re working on improving our ball handling and our overall shooting, especially from the outside.”
Noble feels that Lakewood and James Kenan are the teams to beat in the conference, but when asked to realistically assess where she expects the Lady Titans to finish, she said, “Top three in our conference.”
Noble specifically mentioned five players – CeCe Murphy, Beth Williams, Rachel Wilson, Chrishonda Brown, and Deneesha Watkins – as the foundation for her optimism.
“CeCe is a great playmaker with good court vision, and she is a very good rebounder,” Noble said. “Beth is a great all-around athlete, a verbal and physical leader, and a very good defender.
Chrishonda is a great defensive player, a verbal and physical leader, and a huge role (versatile) player, and Rachel hustles all the time, has a great attitude, and is a very good rebounder. Denisha will alternate between the guard and forward positions as she is a flexible player with a very positive attitude.”
Noble is also hoping for big things from newcomers Kate Friesen, Shawntia green, Saniyyah Notis-McAllister, and Whitney Rimel.
Last year the boys finished with a 9-15 record (5-9 in the tough Tri-County 1A Conference), but depth was a problem especially when injury or illness was combined with foul trouble in specific situations.
Veteran Coach Rodney Orr, 228-188 in coaching stops at Topsail and Trask, begins his second season as the top man in Titantown and while he only has three varsity letter-winners back they are good ones.
“We are very athletic and the work ethic is very good, and we are young,” Orr said. “But the one thing we are lacking is height and, in some positions, experience.”
Experience will come for some of the younger players in a pre-conference schedule that includes 4A power New Hanover and 2A teams North Brunswick and Topsail, but the lack of height could be a problem especially in a conference with teams like Wallace-Rose Hill, Pender, and Midway – three teams Orr points to as contenders for conference superiority.
Leading the way will be junior shooting guard Rasheed Brown. Brown is an athletic player with good moves to the basket and an excellent outside shot, especially from three-point range, strong rebounding skills, and good court vision.
D. J. Love will see time at both shooting guard and point guard, and Kemodrick James will get a great deal of time at the power forward position. Senior Andrew Chomiczewski (6-foot-3, 225 lbs.) will help clog the middle defensively and has shown a decent mid-range jumper.
Orr is also hoping for big things from newcomers Tynaffit Davis, matt Sherman, and Tamarack Bolden.
The regular season for both teams opens next Tuesday (Nov. 20) when they welcome New Hanover to Rocky Point. That game will be followed by an away game at North Brunswick (11/28), a home game against Dixon (11/30), and an another home contest against Topsail (12/4).