The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Sports

November 9, 2012

H.S. Boys Basketball Preview: Local teams ready for tip-off

(Continued)

ELKHART ELKS (13-13)

Joining Westwood in the new-look District 19-2A is Elkhart, a .500 team from a year ago but one that returns loads of firepower for 2012.

In his top returners, EHS coach Ryan Blackmon brings back 44 points per game, led by junior Jeffrey Wilson, who averaged 16 points and nine rebounds per contest last season.

Sharp-shooters Jacob Cheatham (13 points per game) and Cole Bridges (10 points per game) also return for their senior season, as does Luke Hollingsworth.

While the team’s outside shooting will be strong, Blackmon said the team will need to find a post game to be successful.

SEASON OPENER: Nov. 15 in Slocum tournament (time TBA)

CAYUGA WILDCATS (35-6)

When we last saw them, the Cayuga Wildcats were being upset by Tenaha in the regional semifinals for the second-straight season.

CHS coach Greg Jenkins doesn’t want to see that happen again, and neither do his players.

The goal at Cayuga — ranked No. 2 in Class 1A, DI by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches (TABC) in its preseason poll — is a return to the state tournament, and behind University of Hartford-commit Preston Anderson, they have a chance.

The reigning Dogwood Circle Player of the Year averaged 24.4 points per game a year ago in his breakout season.

Cayuga also returns big-man Deon Schofner (12 points, 9 rebounds per game), who will be even more emphasized because of the loss of fellow big man Zac Bowman.

Jenkins also said he thinks his teams depth will be a positive factor as the season goes along.

SEASON OPENER: TBD (depends on football team’s playoff run)

NECHES TIGERS (13-18)

The Neches boys’ basketball team is making the jump up to Class 1A, Division I in 2012-2013, finding a home in District 21-A, DI, away from local powers Cayuga, Grapeland and Slocum.

Ben Lassiter’s club will be led by Devin Kanetzky (12 points, 9 rebounds per game last year), who finished second on the team in scoring last season behind the now-departed Brandon Barrett.

Jake Sparkman and Austin Willingham will also play big roles, as Neches relies on fundamentals and post play as they try for a playoff spot.

SEASON OPENER: 5 p.m. Tuesday vs. Eustace

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