WEST PORTSMOUTH – Some new faces have emerged in West Portsmouth while some have returned for another season on the hardwood.
Players old or new, the goals remains the same for the Portsmouth West Senators entering the 2019-20 basketball season: compete in SOC II play for one of the top spots in the league while also searching for the program’s first trip to The Convo in Athens in over two decades, a trip awarded to those teams which win a sectional championship in their respective sectional tournaments.
While the Senators have yet to accomplish that goal this century (last sectional title in 1998), that’s not stopping this year’s crop of West-siders from working towards being the first West team since ‘98 to accomplish that very feat.
“Our goal for the year is same as it is every year, win a sectional title and make it to The Convo,” West coach Bill Hafer said.” We really want to send our seniors out with as many wins as possible while making some noise in the SOC along the way.”
Coming off a 6-17 (3-11 in SOC II) campaign, West will be replacing four now graduated seniors in Jesse Johnson (leading scorer in 18-19), Dylan Bradford (second leading scorer and team leader in assists, steals and rebounds in 18-19), Isaiah Norman, and Josh Berry.
A year later, West will have a team led by seniors Nick Davis, Brennan Bauer, and Dillyn Coe. Add Luke Howard who appeared in 17 varsity games last season to the mix and you’ve got a group who has been leading by example day-in, day-out in practice, according to Hafer.
“Nick (Davis) has worked very hard this off-season on getting stronger and improving his jump-shot,” Hafer said. “If he can stay healthy, he has the ability to be one of the top players in the SOC. Brennan (Bauer) is our only returning captain and will look to fill the shooting void left by Johnson. Brennan is also the quarterback of our defense. He has a great understanding of where each player needs to be, and is quick to help his teammates out with positioning. Dillyn saw a lot action later in his junior season, and just seemed to get better with each game. Each of those guys are embracing working hard and trying to improve every day, and they’ve really taken the initiative to become better leaders.”
Key role players such as juniors Luke Bradford, Marion Phillips, and Rodney Moore, as well as sophomores Noah Coleman and Jacob Davis hope to make an impact for West this season in a myriad of roles. Brandon Koch, Andrew Jones, and Eli Adkins will also see varsity time for the Senators in 2019-20.
As for the style of play spectators should expect to see from Hafer’s group, look for a team that exhibits what any coach hopes to see in his players: versatility.
“We believe at any given time we will be able to put five guys on the floor who have the ability to dribble, pass and shoot,” Hafer said. “We don’t necessarily have that one defensive stopper like we did last year with Josh Berry and Isaiah Norman, but overall I think we will be a more athletic, quicker defensive team.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved