The basketball season for North Carolina High School Athletic Association member schools is set to begin this week.
The NCHSAA delayed the start of their boys’ and girls’ basketball seasons from November to January because of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Due to the pandemic and shift in the NCHSAA’s calendar, the regular season has been shortened.
Coach: Gunnell Rupert
Last season’s record: 14-12 overall, 6-4 Northeastern Coastal Conference
Outlook: The Knights return one of the more talented teams in the area in 2021.
Last season, Currituck County advanced to the second round of the NCHSAA Class 2A state playoffs.
Currituck, a No. 27 seed in the East Regional, upset No. 6 seed Morehead in the first round of the state playoffs.
Currituck County returns four starters from last season’s team that finished third in the 2A Northeastern Coastal Conference.
Carmillo Burton, a 6-foot shooting guard, returns for his junior season this winter.
Burton was a first team all-Northeastern Coastal Conference selection last season. Joining Burton in the backcourt is senior point guard Noah Cutler (5-foot-10). Cutler was also a starter for the Knights last season.
Traveon Powell, a 6-foot small forward, returns to the starting lineup in his senior season this year. Powell is set to become a four-year starter for the Knights.
Ernest Harris, a 6-foot-7 center, is also a returning starter from last season. He was a second team all-conference selection last season as a sophomore.
Bobby Little, a 6-foot-6 senior power forward, is expected to be in the starting lineup this season.
Little recently announced his commitment to the Grove City College men’s basketball program.
Seniors Trevor Davis (5-foot-11, shooting guard), Jayden Greene (6-foot-1 shooting guard), Josh Rupert (6-foot-3 power forward) and junior Makegan Piorkowski (6-foot-6 power forward) are expected to be key contributors for the Knights this season.
Coach Rupert noted Currituck is looking to build on its success from last season and compete for a conference title.
The coach added the strengths of the team are its size, strength, athleticism and experience.
For coach Rupert, the key to the season is to play as hard as possible every second the Knights take the floor.
The Knights are expected to be in the competition for a league championship this winter with First Flight, Hertford County, Northeastern and Pasquotank County.
JOHN A. HOLMES
Coach: Matt Goetsch
Last season’s record: 28-2 overall, 9-1 Albemarle Athletic Conference
Outlook: The Aces are the defending co-conference regular-season champion and league tournament champion.
Edenton returns Malachi White (junior guard), Jacob Colon (senior guard), Jewell Coston (senior guard), Fred Drew (senior forward) and Teddy Wilson (senior forward) from last season’s team that advanced to the fourth round of the NCHSAA Class 1A boys’ basketball state playoff tournament.
Coston is the only starter from last season’s team who returns this winter.
Quan Twine (junior guard) and Matt Winborne (junior guard) were members of the Aces’ junior varsity team, who will be expected to contribute on varsity this winter.
KJ Armstead (senior guard) is a varsity returner, while RJ Capehart-Jones (senior forward) previously played on Holmes’ junior varsity team for two seasons and will play on varsity this season.
Goetsch, who is in his first season leading the varsity team, noted the strengths of the team that 10 of 11 players on the team have been part of the program by advancing from the junior varsity to the varsity team.
Before the 2021 season, Goetsch coached Edenton’s junior varsity team for several seasons.
The coach added the team being older is an advantage.
The Aces will have to adjust to limited height on its roster.
Coach: Colin Woodley
Last season’s record: 13-13 overall, 3-7 Albemarle Athletic Conference
Outlook: The Pirates return three starters from last season’s team that finished fourth in the conference and earned a berth in the Class 1A state playoffs.
Amarion Hunter (junior point guard), EJ Gatling, Jr. (junior shooting guard), and Nasir Parker (junior forward) started last season.
Hunter was an all-conference selection last season. Last season, Gatling averaged 12.4 points per game.
Parker, listed at 6-foot, is expected to be a key contributor in the post for the Pirates this season.
Kameron Hall (a 6-foot-1 junior guard) led the Perquimans junior varsity team in scoring last season and is expected to be in the starting lineup on the varsity team this winter.
Antwan Harris (a senior forward) will be depended on defensively in the starting lineup.
Kesian Elliott (junior point guard) will provide high energy off the bench and energy on defense.
Listed at 6-foot, TreQuan Griffin (sophomore guard/forward) will see time this season on the wing and in the post.
Saquaon Kearse, a junior guard, will earn playing time on the wing.
Travon Hunter (a junior) and Trenton Sawyer (a sophomore) are expected to play in the front court this season.
Perquimans is hopeful Julian Jenkins (a 6-foot-3 junior forward) will be able to contribute this season after sustaining an injury.
Etavion Jackson, a 5-foot-10 junior guard/forward, is expected to earn playing time on the wing.
Woodley noted the keys to the season for the Pirates will be their ability to rebound and utilize their team speed, playing through adverse situations, maturing through the season and staying healthy during the current pandemic.
Coach: Mark Harnly
Last season’s record: 17-10 overall, 6-4 Albemarle Athletic Conference
Outlook: The Bruins will return key players from last season’s team that finished third in the league and earned a berth in the Class 1A state playoffs.
Andre Barnett (junior guard), Isaiah Hill (junior guard-forward), Jayden Walton (senior forward), Dasani Parker (senior guard), Josiah Butts (senior forward) and Charlie Pippen (junior wing) contributed for the team last season.
Barnett, who was an all-conference and Daily Advance All-Area team honorable mention selection last season, averaged 7.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game in 2019-20.
Barnett is the top returning scorer for Camden from last season.
Hill (6-foot-2) and Walton (6-foot-1) have been a member of the varsity team for multiple seasons.
Parker, Butts and Pippin, a 6-foot-1 wing, will also be relied on heavily this season.
Coach: Jaron Moore
Last season’s record: 1-22 overall, 0-10 Northeastern Coastal Conference
Outlook: The Panthers aim to bounce back from a difficult 2019-20 campaign this winter.
Pasquotank returns Tae Sawyer for his senior season in 2021.
Sawyer, who was an all-Northeastern Coastal Conference second-team selection last season, led Pasquotank in scoring and assists last season with 13.6 points per game and 2.3 assists per game.
Darrion Carver played in 21 games as a freshman last season and is expected to contribute this season as a sophomore.
Carver scored 6.8 points and had four rebounds per game last season.
JOHN A. HOLMES
Coach: Brian Chappell
Last season’s record: 23-7 overall, 8-2 Albemarle Athletic Conference
Outlook: The Aces aim to build off last season, which saw the team win a share of the league regular-season title and the league tournament title. Edenton advanced to the fourth round of the NCHSAA Class 1A girls’ basketball state playoff tournament.
The Aces plan to return conference player of the year in Le’Asia Stanley for her junior season.
As a sophomore, Stanley averaged 15.2 points, 13 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.6 blocks and 3.3 steals per game.
She will likely be joined by senior guard Jamillian Johnson.
Last season, Johnson averaged 13.6 points, 3.2 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 4.8 steals per game.
Johnson and Stanley will likely be joined in the starting lineup by junior guard Sydney Spear and sophomore guard Carson Ray.
Kaci Drew (junior forward) and Dymon Rankins (junior guard) are expected to contribute this season.
Chappell noted with a strong returning cast of players and another year under their belt, he believes Edenton has a chance to have a good year.
The coach added because of the delayed start because of the pandemic, the team will proceed one day at a time.
Holmes is scheduled to begin its season Friday at Northeastern.
Coach: Aaron Burke
Last season’s record: 18-8, 8-2 Albemarle Athletic Conference
Outlook: Perquimans aims to build off last season, which saw them win a share of the conference regular-season championship and advance to the second round of the 1A state playoffs.
Asha Elliott (senior guard) and Jada Modlin (junior guard) are two starters from last season who are expected to be in the starting lineup this winter for the Pirates.
Elliott is a four-year starter at point guard for Perquimans. Modlin led the Pirates in scoring during the last two seasons.
Greyson Pierce, a senior forward, and Zakiylah Clark, a junior center, are expected to be starters this season.
Jazlyn Holley, sophomore guard, G’Nasia Moore, sophomore guard, J’tia Watson, sophomore center, and Annalssya Ousley, freshman forward, are all expected to contribute this season.
Burke noted that his team is very young in terms of experience, but expects the team will develop as the season progresses.