Lancaster High School varsity basketball team members, from left, are (front row) Tyler Colding, Ricky Gibson, Chris Turner, Kaliq Noel, Kedrick Lee, Tykwon Redmond and Brian Moody; (next row) Cameron Kenner, Taj Smith, Jovante Smith, Devante Haskins, Trevon Taylor and Keondra Owens. Photo by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi
“They keep talking about getting back there,” said LHS coach Tim Rice, “and that’s good if they want to set those goals. They are playing hard and working hard.”
Rice and his 2011-12 team turned in the best season in school history, going 27-2 and beating George Mason, 66-51, to win the state Group A Division 2 championship. Unfortunately, Rice graduated eight from that team, including the state player of the year, center Melvin Gregory. He is one of four starters gone.
Senior guard Tyler Colding is the only starter returning. Colding missed the first part of last season with an injury before rejoining the starting lineup. So far this season, he’s leading the team in scoring with 78 points in the Devils’ first four games. He scored 22 last Friday night when Lancaster beat Mathews, 81-52, and another 22 Monday when the Devils defeated King & Queen, 94-30. That win lifted Lancaster to 4-0.
Rice is looking to Colding, junior guard Ricky Gibson and senior forward Taj Smith for team leadership. Gibson has already turned in some double-digit performances to start the season, with 14 points against King & Queen and 11 in Lancaster’s 78-25 win over King William.
Gibson saw some starting time last season and got plenty of time off the bench. Smith lists playing time in the state championship game on his resume. A 6’2” forward, he will have the daunting job of filling Gregory’s shoes. Gregory averaged 17.2 points and 13 rebounds per game last year.
Rice also lost Aaron Manning, Michael Coleman and Brandon Morris from his starting lineup. They were all big producers, both on offense and defense.
“We need to form our own identity,” said Rice of this year’s team. “This a different team entirely from last year’s.”
Colding, Smith and Gibson will be joined in the starting five by junior forward Trevon Taylor and junior forward Jovante Smith.
“We have to pick it up on the defensive end this year,” said Rice. “Our defense is going to have to cause turnovers and come up with some points.”
Also playing guard for the Devils will be seniors Brian Moody, Kedrick Lee and Chris Turner and junior Tykwon Redmond. Getting playing time at forward will be seniors Cameron Kenner and Keondra Owens and juniors Kaliq Noel and Devante Haskins.
Lancaster will not get its first Northern Neck District test until after the holiday break when they travel to Essex on January 4. They go to Mathews Friday, December 6, for a rematch with the Blue Devils.
December 6 at Mathews
December 10 West Point
December 14 at King & Queen
December 17 at King William
December 18 Middlesex
January 4 at Essex
January 8 at Washington & Lee
January 11 Colonial Beach
January 18 at Rappahannock
January 22 at Northumberland
January 25 Essex
January 29 Washington & Lee
February 1 at Colonial Beach
February 5 Northumberland
February 8 Rappahannock