High School Sports

Preview: Lexington boys basketball

Lexington’s magical 2009-10 season ended with a disappointing 71-57 loss to Gaffney in the Class 4A state championship game, but the there was a lot of like in Wildcat Country a year ago.

But with the loss of seven seniors, four of them starters, veteran coach Bailey Harris has a rebuilding job in front of him. The good news is super junior Shaq Roland is back after averaging 19 points and nine rebounds

“We’re young with just one senior on the team and we don’t have much size, but we are fairly skilled and athletic,” said Harris, who entered his 25th season as the head coach at Lexington with a 464-175 record.

The Wildcats are off to a good start, going 4-0 to win the Lake Murray Tip-Off Tournament championship last week without the services of Roland who was still in football mode.

Nygel Gates, a 6-3 sophomore, was impressive in the tournament, and scored a game-high 21 points in Lexington’s 74-61 win over White Knoll in the championship game.

Lexington finished with a 25-6 overall record last season and shared first place with Irmo in Region 5-4A with an 11-3 conference record.

Harris predicts a tight race for the title this season in the new-look 5-4A loop. The Wildcats are teamed up with White Knoll, Aiken, South Aiken, North Augusta and Orangeburg-Wilkinson.

“It should be wide open race,” said Harris. “White Knoll, Aiken, and North Augusta are all athletic, well-balanced teams.”