High School Sports

Raiders hope things will start falling in place

Zach Norris hopes things go a little better for his Keenan boys basketball team when it returns to play today as the host team at the Taco Bell Classic. The Raiders open the three-day tournament at 7:30 p.m. against Glenn Hills (GA).

Disciplinary issues, injuries and illness hit Keenan hard during the first month of the season. The Raiders stand at 5-5, but ended the pre-Christmas portion of the schedule on a high note – downing Ridge View, 76-68, at the Chick-fil-A Classic.

“With all this going on, we’ve still been in almost every game,” said Norris.

“We usually kill ourselves with turnovers, poor free-throw shooting and a lack of defensive toughness, especially in the fourth quarter, but I think we are improving. The Chick-fil-A was a good way of measuring our improvement and playing in these tournaments should help us get ready for our region run and the state playoffs.”

Dennis Rowe and Eric Washington, Keenan’s only two veteran players available throughout the first month of the season, have been the team leaders. Rowe averaged 13 points and five rebounds in three tournament outings, including a 27-point, 8-rebound performance vs. Ridge View in the finale. Washington averaged 9.3 points and 3.3 assists in Chick-fil-A action.

Norris is hoping injured Quinton “Buck” Johnson gets the green light to return to action as the season enters the serious phase.

Keenan is in final preparation for the start of the Region 4-2A campaign on Jan. 8 in Pageland against Central. The Raiders have won five region championships in six tries since 2004, including four titles in their five seasons at the Class 2A level starting in 2005.