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Larry Epperly, his staff and a very talented group of Comets came within one fateful opponent’s 3-pointer of crashing the State 5-A Final Four a year ago.
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Park View has senior leadership
SoVaNow.com / November 30, 2010The Park View High School Dragons boys’ varsity basketball team has senior experience and a hungry team hoping to make a more consistent impression in the Southside district this season.
Ivan Parker, who has one regional playoff appearance on his resume, is starting his fifth season in South Hill, including his fourth year at the helm of the Dragon varsity program.
The Dragons start the regular season tonight at home against Central of Lunenburg.
Parker has five senior starters, which is a fairly rare deal for prep basketball. That overall cohesion and experience should help the Dragons, especially as these veterans gear up for district play later this winter. Harold Bennett will play the point, while Jamar Alexander is the shooting guard. “He does well,” he said.
“Our whole starting five – they need each other,” Parker said.
Dante Dunson also starts, and Park View has Keith Haskins and DeAndre’ Alexander to complete the starting five.
“I think all of them are valuable to each other. I don’t think its one kid that can go out there and do it all by himself,” Parker said.
PVHS is part of the very competitive Southside district, and Parker hopes to find a way to finish on top of the final regular season standings. But he also expressed a note of caution about expectations.
“Of course our goal is to finish first. Anywhere between first and third would be something to look forward to. The kids have their own goals as far as finishing first in the district, but it’s going to take hard work. Southside is one of the toughest districts in Virginia,” Parker said.
Park View does not have much height, and the coach will look to push the tempo up and down the court. Effective 3-point shooting will help. “We have a few guys that can pull the trigger,” Parker said.
The Dragons will be a perimeter orientated team. “If we are able to get up and down the court, that will create some easy buckets for us, hopefully,” Parker said.
Defensively, Park View hopes to attack the opposition, and create consistent scoring opportunities generated from strong defensive play.
“I think pressuring the ball up, creating turnovers, that’s what going to get our offense going. If we can’t create turnovers and we’re able to play half court, the biggest thing we’ve got to … concentrate on is rebounding,” Parker said.
PV has no one in its lineup taller than 6-foot-3, so “we don’t have a lot of size. Our team defense really has to come into play,” Parker said.
The Dragons will have to pressure all over the court.
Park View has some depth, including three ninth graders who should help. That group includes Caleb Johnson, Latavious Patterson and James Brown. Park View will have a challenging assignment trying to break through in the Southside.
Brunswick, coached by former Virginia and NBA standout Bryant Stith, will be tough again. Stith has both of his sons on the varsity, Brandon and B.J.
Greensville will present a challenge, and Prince Edward will also be a factor.
SCRIMMAGE NOTES: Park View traveled to South Boston Monday night to face Group AAA Halifax County High School, and the Dragons generally did a good job.
PVHS got hammered in the first quarter of the scrimmage, as the Dragons trailed at the end of that eight-minute stretch, 16-3. HCHS showed good ball movement and effectively pressured Park View on defense.
“They came out and put a little ball pressure. They really dig in deep on defense. I think they did the whole game. We were just able to make some plays,” Parker said. PV generally controlled the scrimmage after the first set. PVHS battled the Comets to a 10-10 deadlock in the second quarter. The Dragons had a 14-9 advantage at the end of the third period and rolled to an 18-7 edge in the last quarter.
Halifax had some field goal shooting issues and also struggled with inexperience. The Group AAA Comets, who have to play in the tough Western Valley district, have limited experience returning. Halifax also has a new coach, James McDaniel, who has the job on a one-year interim status.
Park View also enjoyed balanced scoring, as Haskins had nine points, while Alexander added eight.
Parker noted improvement as the scrimmage progressed.
“We were able to find some open guys, able to get some layups, easy shots. Guys locked down open jumpers. I thought it was a good team effort,” he said.
Park View struggled last year, finishing below .500 at 5-13 overall. The Dragons should be considerably improved this season.
Parker directed the Dragons to the regional semifinals his first season as the varsity head coach. Park View has not been back to the regionals since.
JAYVEE LOOK: The Dragon jayvees also played a scrimmage against the Comets, losing the four quarters 48-34. Park View started slowly, dropping the first quarter, 9-4, and never got a handle on the Comets. Travon Previtire led Park View with 18 points.
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