Departures: Starling Jones and Taylor Mason graduated and were a big part of the team’s success rebounding. Jones was tough on the inside and could shoot while Mason was a tough, versatile player. Rebounding is an early area of concern for the Warriors with these losses.
Returning Players: Tweedy is the Warriors stand out and number one go-to player. She averaged nearly 23 points per game last season. Senior point guard Ayanna Owens, the Warriors’ 4-9 point guard is back, and Stephanie Edmonds, the team’s defensive specialist returns.
Backcourt: This will be the strength of the 2013-2014 Warriors as Tweedy and Owens form an experienced backcourt. They pass the ball well to each other and know each other’s game. In addition to great chemistry, both are strong defensively. Also at guard, Tiffany Mueller is a talented outside shooter.
Frontcourt: Though inexperienced, the Warriors have a number of players that could step up in Senior Amanda Mascia, sophomore Jayliah Cox, and junior Taryn Nix. Mascia, the tallest player on the team at 5-9, will play close to the basket, and Cox is strong in the middle, and has an opportunity to come up big rebounding. Nix will provide an inside-outside threat as the team’s “euro-shooter,” possessing a great mid-range jump shot.
Coaching: Glenna Lewis is entering her seventh year at Matoaca.
X-Factor: Post Play. Lewis stated that her post players need to be more aggressive to succeed. “Our goal is to get them to be able to get the ball and do something positive with it, we need to get them to be as aggressive as our guards are at rebounding,” she stated.
Next game: Matoaca opened their season Monday against Manchester and will face John Marshall in the opening round of the Fort Lee tournament Thursday.
Key to Success: Defense. Until Matoaca’s rebounding improves, playing defense to limit opponent’s shots will serve them well. This includes stopping teams from penetrating and playing the post game.
WHO TO WATCH
Jaelyn Tweedy, senior guard: Tweedy returns for her senior year at Matoaca as one of the best players in recent memory at the school. The guard’s ability to score and play defense has a few Division I schools looking at her including UNC Asheville and American University. In 2013-2014, the senior will look to tie a bow on a great high school career and ascend to the next level.
Departures: At 6-7, B.J. Allen averaged a double-double last year and provided an inside presence for the Warriors. Rashard Lewis played small forward and off guard as a swingman while leading the team in rebounding. Now both play at Frederick Community College in Maryland. Forward/guard Resean Bolton transferred to Petersburg.
Returning Players: Devin Morgan is the catalyst of the Warriors’ basketball program. Khalil Coleman is a four-year starter, and Trevion Armstrong is expected to be an asset. Those three players give Matoaca a competitive core.
Backcourt: Coleman cemented his reputation further during football season as one of the best athletes in the state, and has improved his shooting skills and overall game. Coach Michael Knight applauds Devin Morgan’s basketball IQ; he will be the floor general. Knight is confident that Matoaca’s backcourt can play with any backcourt in the state.
Frontcourt: Armstrong with his size (6-4) and ability to run the break is important. Junior Onyx Boyd, a 6-10 center, who is currently out with a leg injury, is drawing interest from schools such as Elon and Northern Arizona. Edward Faison has improved in practice and will start at power forward.
X-Factor: Post play. Good post play to compliment an excellent backcourt could propel the Warriors to be one of the top teams in the state.
Coaching: Matoaca is a bit of a homecoming for Knight as he started at Matoaca in 1998 as the boys’ freshman coach. After a successful stint for the Meadowbrook girls and some time off, he’s at the helm again.
Next Game Friday December 6 at Petersburg, 7 p.m.
Key to Success: Intensity. “I want to teach these kids that the first play is just as important as the last,” stated Knight.
WHO TO WATCH
Devin Morgan, junior guard: Sporting two offers as a junior from Radford and Northern Arizona with other schools interested, Morgan is one of the top guards in the area. In the off-season, he worked on his shooting range, ball handling skills and endurance. The junior hopes to lead Matoaca to the regionals and beyond this season. Morgan is also a force in the classroom.