High School Boys’ Basketball Preview: RCAC

Top (l-r): Shaheem Ellis, Jr., Kai McCullough, Trynzeir Parker and Keith Warren. Bottom (l-r): Ethain Clarke-DeSouza, Maurice McKinney, Damani Barley and Christian Harmon. (Photo contributions: MIKE GENTILE, RON KALASINKAS and SUE KANE)

Section V boys’ basketball tips off its 2021 season this week with a full slate. Here are the season previews for the Rochester City Athletic Conference:

UPPER DIVISION

EAST HIGH EAGLES (Class A2)

Last season: Finished 22-2, won Class A2 and the NYS Far West Class A Regional Qualifier over Eastridge.
Coach: Darrell Barley (20th season, 313-107 career record)
Top returners: Damani Barley Jr. G (All-League Team, All-State Team, No. 16 prospect in the Class of 2022 with offers from Siena and Bryant University as well as interest from New Mexico, Buffalo, La Salle, James Madison, Canisius, Niagara, Lehigh Hofstra and Hampton); Clinique Jackson Sr. G; Kai McCullough Jr. G (All-League Team); Justus Ross-Simmons Jr. G (All-League Team football and basketball – All-State football)
Top newcomers: Darren Blocker Sr. C (McQuaid transfer with interest from Hampton); Shamir Caruthers; Naeem Folkes
First game: February 10th vs. Edison Tech at 6:30 p.m.

EDISON TECH INVENTORS (Class AA)

Last season: Finished 10-12, lost in Class AA sectional quarterfinals to Rush-Henrietta.
Coach: Reggie Simmons (Eighth season overall, second season at Edison Tech, 102-53 career record)
Top returners: Shaheem Ellis, Jr. Sr. G (All-League Team); Chaheim Fowlkes Sr. G; Andy Larancuent Jr. G; Mike Morgan Jr. G (11 PPG)
Top newcomers: Marcqell Freeman Fr. PG; Jabari Johnson So. G; Davijon Lipscomb Fr. G; T’ajier Odum Jr. F
Outlook: “The Inventors will play an up-tempo style offense led by Shaheem Ellis, Jr. Pressure team defense will be the catalyst that forces opponents into mistakes. Both freshmen will play significant roles throughout the season.”
First game: February 10th at East High at 6:30 p.m.

LEADERSHIP ACADEMY LIONS (Class A1)

Last season: Finished 18-5, lost in Class A1 sectional semifinals to Eastridge
Coach: William Broome (11th season overall, second varsity season, 18-5 career record).
Top returners: Rayshawn Boyd Sr. F (12 PPG); Maurice McKinney Sr. G (20 PPG, Upper Division Player of the Year)
Top newcomers: Khalid Ortiz-Price Sr. G, Sean Smith Sr. G (20 PPG, Northstar Christian transfer), Jared St. Louis Sr. F
Outlook: “The Leadership Academy Lions are looking forward to the season. They are in the process of solidifying the roster. The Lions have some juniors that will provide some bench scoring as well as some seniors that will do the same. Broome is looking to build on a great first year as a varsity head coach with a solid group of young men that are hungry to play.”
First game: February 12th vs. East High at 6:30 p.m.

MCQUAID KNIGHTS (Class AA)

Last season: Finished 16-8, lost in Class AA sectional final to UPrep.
Coach: Jack Leasure (Eighth season, 100-58 career record)
Top returners: Joe Cairns Sr. G (4 PPG, 3 RPG); Keith Warren Sr. G (12 PPG, 4 APG, 3 RPG, Class AA All-Tournament Team)
Outlook: “The Knights lose a lot of pieces from last year’s team that reached the Class AA sectional final for the third straight season. Newcomers and returning reserves will need to step up and contribute in order to compete in a very competitive schedule and sectional bracket.”
First game: February 8th vs. Webster Schroeder at 6:30 p.m.

WILSON MAGNET WILDCATS (Class A2)

Last season: Finished 7-15, lost in Class A2 sectional quarterfinals to East High.
Coach: Brendan O’Toole (10th season, 82-110 career record)
Top returners: Christian Harmon Jr. F (21.6 PPG, 10.2 RPG); Zavarius Henry Jr. G (9 PPG); Derrick Simmons Sr. F (45 percent 3PT last season); Damell Turner Jr. PG (4 APG)
Top newcomers: Harlem Campbell Sr.; Lasharm Henry Jr.; Josh Joyce Jr.; Khalil Lewis Jr.
Outlook: “With three retuning juniors that started as sophomores, there is some experience and with the shortened preseason, that should be a benefit. Senior Derrick Simmons came on towards the end of last season and will be counted on to increase his productivity as he moves into a full-time starting role.”
First game: February 10th at McQuaid at 6:30 p.m.

LOWER DIVISION

EARLY COLLEGE COBRAS (Class B2)

Last season: Finished 4-17, lost in first round of Class B2 sectionals to Mynderse
Coach: John Geglia (Eighth season, 81-99 career record)
Top returners: Jahan Richetts Jr. G; Jamar Williams Jr. F
Top newcomers: Jamezs Brown Jr. G
Outlook: “The Cobras are a young team with no returning seniors and only two players with varsity experience. There will be growing pains for this group this season. Hopefully the experience will be a foundation for future success.”
First game: February 16th at Monroe at 6:30 p.m.

FRANKLIN QUAKERS (Class AA)

Last season: Finished 9-12, lost in first round of Class AA sectionals to Webster Thomas.
Coach: Joseph Jackson, Jr. (20th Season overall, first season on varsity)
Top returners: Tyre Jenkins Jr. G; Jaylin Jordan Sr. G (10 PPG, 4 APG); Dayvion Scott Jr. G (8 PPG); Zori Smith Sr. G
Top newcomers: Khalil Cotton Sr. C; Jordyn Green Jr. F; Keyshawn Sullivan Jr. F; Chauncey White-Oliver Jr. G
Outlook: “This is the first year playing together for many of the Quakers, so they are learning and looking to work hard together. If they can get solid play out of their big guys, they will be able to compete.”
First game: February 10th vs. Monroe at 6:30 p.m.

MONROE REDJACKETS (Class A2)

Last season: Finished 4-17, lost in first round of Class A2 sectionals to NE Douglass.
Coach: Matthew McCormick (17th season)
Top returners: Amariyon Johnson Sr. F; Jah’meir Speed Sr. G; Ezekiel Williams Sr. G
Top newcomers: Ty’Jah Cole Sr. G; Felton Gray So. F; Davion Jones So. G
Outlook: “The Redjackets will look to replace substantial minutes and points lost to the graduation of four starters from last season. As always, look for them to play an up-tempo style in a very competitive RCAC Lower Division.”
First game: February 10th at Franklin at 6:30 p.m.

NE DOUGLASS PANTHERS (Class B1)

Last season: Finished 12-12, lost in Class A2 sectional final to East High.
Coach: Kyle Crandall (Eighth season, 94-59 career record)
Top returners: Delzair Hanks Sr. G (2.4 RPG); Jason Jones Sr. G (3.2 PPG, 1.9 RPG); Trynzeir Parker Sr. G (12.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 3.1 APG, 2.2 SPG)
Top newcomers: Lonnie Buchanan Sr. F; Chris James Jr. G; Khalil Johnson Sr. F
Outlook: “The Panthers graduated many key players from last year’s team which advanced to the sectional finals twice in the last three years. They have moved to Class B1 this season where they hope to compete yet again for a chance to win their first sectional title in school history. The team will be led by senior guard Trynzeir Parker who is the only returning starter. The Panthers will look to be a team that is built upon its defense and has a well-rounded and balanced offense.”
First game: February 10th vs. World of Inquiry at 6:30 p.m.

SCHOOL OF THE ARTS SILVERHAWKS (Class A2)

Last season: Finished 14-7, lost in Class A2 sectional quarterfinals to Pittsford Sutherland.
Coach: Albert Nash (17th season, 189-139 career record)
Top returners: Farhan Abdi Sr. G; Keshaun Chatman Jr. G (7 PPG, 7 RPG, 2 SPG); Ethain Clarke-DeSouza Sr. G (21 PPG, 8 RPG, All-League First Team, 1,250 career varsity points); Ke’Vion Mitchell Sr. G (11 PPG, 8 APG); Reggie Smith Sr. G (10 PPG, 4 RPG, 2 SPG)
Top newcomers: Ishmel Gonzales Eighth grade G.; Aness Jaff So. PF; Tyree Moore So. SF
Outlook: “The Silverhawks will be competitive if they compete on both ends of the floor, especially on defense. They will be counting on younger players to add some depth to their rotation.”
Next game: February 10th at Monroe.

WORLD OF INQUIRY GRIFFINS (Class B2)

Last season: Finished 8-13, lost in first round of Class B2 sectionals to Attica.
Coach: Jeff Curtis (13th season, 158-105 career record)
Top returners: Romel Brown Sr. SF; Kevonne Fountain Sr. F; Jeshua Shaw Sr. G; Dorian Smith Sr. G
Top newcomers: Treavon Alexander Sr. G; Toney Henton Jr. F; Rodney Nully Jr. PG; Umar Richardson Jr. F; Levi Wright Sr. F
Outlook: “World of Inquiry will utilize its speed and be very defensive-minded. Outside shooting should be much improved this season. The team has a lot of experience and played many varsity games together, which should be an advantage in this short season. The Griffins’ goal is to get better every day and compete for the Class B2 title which they think is very possible.”
First game: February 10th at NE Douglass at 6:30 p.m.

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