A.C. Floras boys and girls basketball teams enter the 2013-14 season with high hopes and four starters in tow.
The Falcon boys squad went 17-8 and made it to the third round of the Class 3A state playoffs. Though four starters return, replacing departed star Matthew Howard, who averaged 23 points a game, will be a big challenge.
Leon Brunson, who is entering his fourth season at the ACF helm, is looking for veterans Rion Davis (13 ppg), Karl Gamble (8 ppg, 5 rpg), James Murray Boyles (7 ppg, 4 rpg), Tyler Gray (6 ppg, 4 ppg) and Diquan Grant (8 ppg) will fill void production void with Howard gone.
All of the return vets are juniors, expected for senior Grant. Davis has star potential.
Seniors Julian Moreno, Deryn Williams and Iniko Baker are also slated to be in the regular rotation. At 6-foot-6, Williams is the tallest Falcon.
I believe we can be a great defensive team, said Brunson. We should be much improved in the post but I am concerned about a lack of experienced depth.
Patti Moores Flora girls team expects a better showing than last seasons 11-14 performance. The Falcons finished in fourth place in Region 4-3A and lost in the first round of the state playoffs for the third year in a row.
Like the boys team situation, the ACF girls have experience but will miss Kyeshia Dawkins.
The return of junior guards Haniyyah Howard (10.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.8 apg) and Regan Tapp (8.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.1 spg), senior post Sherryce King (3.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.4 spg) and senior guard Emily Howard (1.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg) make the outcome more promising in a loaded region that features powerhouses Lower Richland and Dreher.
Moore said juniors Tierra Segars and Taylor Smith, eight-graders Jordan Strange and Cali Assley are the promising newcomers.
We are hoping to bring a much higher energy level on both the offensive and defensive end, said Moore. We hope the experience factor will carry over to the younger players and help create a good blend of being able to attack from both inside and outside. We should be deeper and quicker than last year.