Top RRC teams return most of their talent
Cuthbertson, Forest Hills and Monroe were the top three boys basketball teams in the Rocky River Conference a year ago, and all three are loaded again in 2012-13.
The Cavaliers, who went 31-2 and won the league before advancing to the 2A state championship, return all five starters to their lineup.
The Yellow Jackets graduated just two seniors and also return all five starters after going 16-10 overall and placing in the RRC.
Meanwhile, Monroe returns four starters from a team that went 19-11 and advanced to the 1A state quarterfinals.
“It’s going to be a wide open conference,” said Redhawks coach Johnny Sowell. “Regardless of where you finished last year, you have to go out and play every night. The biggest thing we want to do is play better on the road. We lost a lot of close games on the road last year, so we have to take care of business.”
Junior point guard Shelton Mitchell, who has more than 10 Division I scholarship offers, is back for the Cavs after averaging 23.4 points and 4.4 assists per game last season.
Senior guard Roshad Gibson averaged 13.6 points per game for Forest Hills a year ago, while senior forward Jarvis Wilson posted 10.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest.
The Jackets also return a third double-digit scorer in sophomore guard Terrance Huntley, who posted 10.2 ppg last season.
Senior forward Quayshawn Chambers, who was part of the Redhawks’ 2010 state championship team, returns after averaging 10.2 ppg a year ago.
Sowell said Chambers is expected to be out ‘a couple weeks’ after suffering a separated shoulder in Monroe’s state semifinal loss to Swain County in football last Friday.
Junior guard Brandon Roddy is the Redhawks’ top returning scorer (14.2 ppg).
Monroe was scheduled to open the 2012-13 season at Parkwood on Friday, but since the majority of its team plays football, the Redhawks’ opener will be on Dec. 10 at home against Sun Valley.
“It’s going to be a lot like football for us,” said Sowell. “We’ll take the non conference schedule to get us in the groove and then we’ll go from there. It’s going to take us a while to get out of football mode and into basketball mode, and we know that.”
Piedmont and Forest Hills both have new coaches.
Former West Stanly coach Rudy Heath was hired at Piedmont to take over for Mike Connelly, and Matt Sides, who previously coached at Anson County, has replaced Warren Taylor at Forest Hills.
The Panthers opened the season with a 51-49 home win over Weddington last Tuesday.
Piedmont returns four starters from last year, including senior forward Brady Meggs, who averaged 15.6 points and 10.8 rebounds in 2011-12.
The Panthers play at Parkwood today.
Forest Hills opens the season at home against Mount Pleasant on Friday.
Cavs off to hot start
The Cavaliers are 3-0 following Saturday’s 71-56 victory over North Rowan in the Charlotte Hoops Challenge.
Mitchell scored a game-high 30 points and added six rebounds. Senior guard Emmitt Afam added 11 points and three steals while senior forward Jorden Hardrick contributed 10 points and three steals.
Cuthbertson plays at Weddington on Friday.
RRC’s upcoming games:
CATA^Today^at Mount Pleasant
Union Academy^Today^vs. Kennedy Charter
Cuthbertson^Nov. 30^at Weddington
Forest Hills^Nov. 30^vs. Mount Pleasant
Monroe^Dec. 10^vs. Sun Valley
Final 2011-12 RRC standings