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BOYS' BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Downriver League preview two

Senior-heavy Lincoln Park will compete



Lincoln Park

After a sixth-place finish in the Downriver League last year, Lincoln Park heads into this season with just a 10-man roster.

Railsplitters Coach Todd Tobin has seven seniors on the team, however only two played varsity basketball in 2012-13.

“We’re going to compete,” Tobin said. “We’re going to play hard. We’re going to play as a team and see how it goes.”

Lincoln Park will have its leading scorer back in senior guard Tywan Cage, who earned all-league honors last year. Senior forward Revon Coleman will also be one of the team’s top players this winter.

Joe Decoster, a junior guard, saw some varsity time last year, but had battled an injury. This season, Tobin said he’s been impressed with what he’s seen from Decoster so far.

Senior forward Robert Atwater should bring athleticism to the Rails, as he was a high jump champion on the track team.

Other seniors talking the floor are forward Paris Wilson and guards Deshawn Tillmon, Jose Hernandez and Kenny Wright.

Two juniors who round out the Lincoln Park squad are guard Brian Soloman and forward Christian Walker.

The Rails will start the season at home this year with a nonleague game Wednesday against Novi Catholic Central. On Friday night, they will travel to Truman to open the Downriver League season.



Allen Park

With its two leading scorers lost to graduation, Allen Park will look to some new faces to help lead the team into Downriver League action.

For points this winter, Jaguars’ Coach Jim Victor will rely heavily upon senior guard Jarett Shinault, junior guard Antonio Reviere and senior forward Richie Slate.

Two of the big guys the team will lean on are senior center/forward Jake Barann and senior forward Adam McJunkin, as Victor said the pair should have a big impact on both offense and defense.

Senior guard Ryan Oakley and senior forward Richard Gamble are two players who can also contribute in more ways than one, Victor said, as they can both defend and rebound well.

Other juniors on the roster this year are forwards Manny Andrade, Ethan Kubik, Danny Monear and guards Nico Perez and Jared Donigian.

Overall, Victor said he likes what’s seen so far from his Jags and believes that they can be competitive this year and improve upon last season’s seventh-place finish in the league.

“I'm very excited about this season’s team,” he said “We should be much improved from last year. If these 12 guys buy in, stay positive and play as hard as they have been to start the season, they can be very competitive in this league.

“There are a lot of very good teams in this league and our team knows that we can play with anyone on any night.”

Allen Park will take the court for the first time this season on Tuesday, when the Jags travel to Divine Child to take on the Falcons in a nonleague game.



Kennedy

With several returners, and two of the best players in the league, Kennedy looks poised to improve upon last year’s eighth-place finish in the Downriver League.

Leading the charge for Eagles’ Coach Rich Lannon will be junior point guard Andia Marsh, who was named to last year’s News-Herald Dream Team. As a sophomore he averaged 15 points per game, as well as 4.9 rebounds and two steals.

Senior forward Matt Woloszyk, who is one of the area’s best big men, will be a force in the middle again for Kennedy and should earn double digits in points and rebounds most nights.

Also returning for the Eagles are senior guards David Cheeks, Verteaz Tillman and Kareth O’Neil, along with senior forward Anton Hogan.

Throughout the season, two other players who should see action are junior guard Demario Campbell and sophomore forward Alston Hunter.

In January, Lannon said Kennedy will gain the services of junior guard Brendan Williams, who will become eligible and will likely have an immediate impact at that time.

Senior forward Jalen Willingham and junior guard Nick Johnson will look for time on the hardwood, as well, as members of the Eagles.

Kennedy will get its 2013-14 campaign started Monday with a nonleague home game against Novi Catholic Central.



Melvindale

In his first year as head coach at Melvindale, Mac Horvath inherits an experienced, talented team with the chance to be much better than last year’s group, which finished ninth in the league standings.

The Cardinals have eight seniors on the roster, as well as a few talented underclassmen that could make an impact.

Three returning senior starters set to lead the squad are guards Malik Boynton, KleSean Clark and forward Albert Foster. Clark was a bright spot on last season’s team, averaging 12.6 points per game. In addition, Clark and Boynton were standout receivers on the district championship football team this fall, with Boynton recently earning all-state honors.

Horvath said he’ll also look for heavy contributions from senior guards Wissam Saeed and Ricky Cripps, while returning senior forwards Billy Nixon and Jamary Taylor will be counted on for defense and rebounding.

Three skilled underclassmen with a shot to contribute are sophomore guard Terrace Drew, sophomore forward Javon Lawrence and freshman forward Koby Boynton.

Rounding out the squad is senior guard DeVaughn Glosson, along with junior center Kyle Bradburn and junior forward Anthony Fitzgerald.

Melvindale will open its season Friday night with a home game against Trenton.



Woodhaven

Coming off a last-place finish in the Downriver League last year, a young Woodhaven squad will head into this winter in search of a much better outcome.

With only one senior on the roster, Warriors Coach Greg Scheffler will rely heavily upon his juniors and sophomores this year.

Despite the youth, however, Scheffler said his team has shown a lot of intelligence on the court.

“We are very young, but very smart,” he said. “Our goal this season is to focus on doing what we do.”

There is some experience on the squad, as well, as four of the top players each have at least one year of varsity experience under their belts.

Serving as team captain this season will be the team’s lone 12th grader, Kortez Turner, who is in his second year with the varsity team.

Others leading the way this year will be returning juniors Maurice Witherspoon, Rashod Johnson and Nick Towianski. For Witherspoon, this will be his third year on the varsity squad.

A trio of sophomores in Roger Scott, Niko Richard and Beruk Lessanework serve as a nice addition to this season’s Woodhaven team, Scheffler said.

The squad is rounded out by juniors Brad Danyo, LaFranz Hemphill, Trent Bauer, Marrell Pulley and Thaddeus Abram.

For the Warriors, the 2013-14 season kicks off Tuesday night with a game at Bedford.



Last Updated: 12/6/2013 12:49:02 PM EST

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