Inexperienced Patriot team is jelling
The Patriots’ basketball team has to replace a veteran group that graduated in the spring, but it does still have some playmakers.
“The biggest difference from last season is we don’t have as much game experience,” Fort Dorchester coach Leon Wheaton said. “While we had a lot of seniors who had been with us multiple years last season, this year we are pretty young and not as big. Now I have two freshmen and two sophomores I will be relying on. But, the group I have is jelling well.”
Senior Baptiste Staggers returns with more varsity experience than his teammates. Last season he led the Patriots in blocked shots and was among the team’s leading rebounders. He will be utilized in the post, but Wheaton says he is also a good shooter.
Junior Eric Heyward will be called upon to help run the Patriot offense. The guard also saw a lot of floor time last season.
“Eric has a high IQ so he will be our floor general,” Wheaton said. “We can use him at the No. 1 or No. 2 position.”
Dedrick Singletary and Demariez Moorer have also emerged as leaders for the team early this seaaon.
“Dedrick is someone we can use at the No. 2 or No. 3 spot as well as down low,” Wheaton said. “He is our leading scorer so far. Demariez is quick so he can help us keep the tempo up. He was good enough to start last year but he had two seniors in front of him so we just used him off the bench from time to time.”
The Patriots are off to a 2-1 start. The wins were over Northwood Academy and Woodland. On the road Tuesday the team fell 66-56 to Wando, a team off to a 6-2 start.
Singletary posted 16 points in the season opener and Staggers put up 16 at Wando. Heyward chipped in 13 points against the Warriors.
Wheaton says his team has its work cut out for it so for now he is focusing on gradual, yet steady improvement.
“We are taking things one game at a time,” he said. “We aren’t going to be bigger than most of the people we play but I think we will battle. We won’t have much room for error so we will need to take care of the basketball, play up tempo and force some turnovers.”
The Patriots travel to Woodland Saturday and then to Goose Creek Wednesday. They return home to host a rematch with Wando Dec. 14.