Despite a young and inexperienced lineup, the Bellaire Cardinals basketball team was off to a 22-8 record this season, including a 58-52 victory over the Lamar Redskins in the District 20-5A opener.
“We’ve played a tough schedule, and many of our losses have been to really outstanding teams, so I’m definitely pleased with the way our team’s progressed,” said Cardinals head coach Bruce Glover.
While the Cardinals start a pair of standout seniors in Malcolm Glover and Myles Eglin, youth is served throughout the rest of the lineup. Other starters include freshmen guard Jarren Greenwod and sophomore post player Avery Jordan, as well as junior Calvin Dean. In addition, freshman guard Christian James, who missed much of the early season with a hip pointer, was expected to be a big contributor.
“We didn’t have Christian for several weeks, and we lost our big 6-7 post player Eghosa Igbinosa for the season with a knee injury, so the guys have had to overcome some adversity as well,” said Glover.
In the Southwest Preparatory Conference, the Episcopal Knights boasted a lofty 18-3 overall record to start the year.
“We have a really good team and a lot of talented players,” said Knights first-year head coach Kyle Manary. The lineup includes the return of standout junior guard Ken Williams and senior John Heard. Williams, who’s only a junior, is among the city’s leading scorers with an average of 25 points per game.
The Knights boast a trio of standout post players in 6-3 sophomore Jamal Williams, 6-6 forward Kendell Ramlal and 6-8 junior Brandon Williams. “Jamal is our best defender and is extremely athletic, while Kendell is a defensive beast and rebounder, and Brandon can really score down low,” said Manary.
“We also have a very strong bench with good rebounders and defenders. We’re about nine players deep and I’m looking forward to making a run at an SPC Championship.”
After defeating Episcopal to win last season’s SPC title, the St. John’s Mavericks are on a mission to defend their championship. Those title hopes are certainly bolstered by the return of sophomore Justise Winslow, who’s ranked among the top 10 sophomore players in the nation.
“Justise is an amazingly talented player, but the great thing about him this year is that he’s really become a leader on this team,” said Mavericks head coach Harold Baber. “He’s averaging about 24 points a game and is having an unbelievable season.”
Another top scorer for the Mavericks is junior point guard Kory Haywood, who’s averaging about 12 points a game, while sophomore forward Risher Randall has had some high-scoring games as well, including a 16-point outing in a big win over the Class 4A Jones Falcons.
In addition, Baber says, junior Yusef Chabayta, who was on the wrestling team last year, may very well be the team’s top shooter, even connecting on seven three-pointers in two different games this year. The Mavericks have also been bolstered by the emergence of senior Chris Gow. The quarterback for the Mavericks football team, Gow is playing basketball for the first time since the eighth grade. He’s quickly earned a starting role and is perhaps the team’s best defender.
Another team that could very well be in the thick of this season’s SPC Championship race is The Kinkaid School. In winning 11 of their first 17 games this season, the Falcons defeated some outstanding public-school teams, including Brazosport, Pearland and Madison.
“I really like the chemistry of this year’s team,” said Falcons head coach Scott Zimmerman. The younger guys are really getting along, working hard, and playing much better as a team as compared to last season. That win over Brazosport was really special considering we beat them in the semifinals of their own tournament. Sophomore Jeff Roberson was just tremendous in that tournament while junior guard Larry Wilkins led us in scoring in the Brazosport win. Also, 6-6 sophomore Mavin Saunders had a huge tournament for us.”
The Falcons have also benefited from the play of 6-6 senior Duncan Robinson, as well as starting point guard Thomas Dillon. “We actually have an eight- or nine-man rotation,” said Zimmerman. “Guys like senior guard Campbell Cravens, as well a big post players in 6-4 Bryson King and 6-5 John Ormiston, have all played a role in our success.”
Editor’s Note: Lone Star Emmy Award-winner Todd Freed is the host and producer of Todd Freed’s High School SportZone, which can be seen Sunday evenings at 9 p.m. on Channel 57-The KUBE. To submit information for possible inclusion in SportzBuzz, please email (email@example.com) todd (at) thebuzzmagazines (dot) com.