New-look Highlanders open impressively

11/30/2012 1:41 PM

11/30/2012 1:45 PM

Jeff Whalen’s Heathwood Hall boys basketball team opened the season with an impressive 63-49 win over traditional SCISA power Pinewood Prep on Wednesday.

Bradley Singleton (21 points), Tyler Underwood 12 and Nygel Vaughan 11 set the tone for the winning Highlanders.

Heathwood returns to action on Tuesday against Wilson Hall.

Whalen is facing a rebuilding project with just two regulars returning – senior wingman Bradley Singleton and senior Chase Ryan in the low post. Singleton is expected to be the leading scorer after averaging 10.5 points a game as a complimentary player a year ago in his Highlanders debut. Ryan will be asked for more than the 2.3 points and 4.2 rebounds he contributed last season.

Seniors Shelton Blue and 6-7 Gabe Brandner also return after seeing limited playing time last season.

The top newcomers to watch include freshman guard Nygel Vaughn, sophomore guard Tyler Underwood and junior forward Trent Flemming.

“We are going to miss Joseph James’ scoring and great athletic ability and Alex Bueno’s tenacity,” said Whalen. “As always, we want to be in the mix for a region title and the state playoffs. We are inexperienced, and we’re stressing the point that playing good defense will help us achieve those goals. We also must be more physical and become a disciplined and unselfish team if we want to have success.”

Heathwood Hall has enjoyed four straight 20-plus win seasons and has played in the last three SCISA Class 3A championship games – winning it all in 2011.

But the stars of the run – Mac Whalen, Corey Littlejohn and James – have departed.

A new era begins.

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