Almost a year ago, the Colonial Beach Boys Basketball Team ended the season in dramatic fashion, falling in a must-win game they needed to advance to the district tournament.
Now, the work the staff and team put in over the summer will be put to the test.
Second year head coach Jonathan Parker and the Drifters may have lost in a close game last season to Washington & Lee, but he saw the off time as a productive opportunity.
“I told them the offseason was going to be big for us to get in the gym to get better and compete in the Northern Neck,” said Parker. “We know Essex and Lancaster are going to be top dogs every year. If you want to get better and beat those guys, you have to start working in the summer time.
Due to the success of the high school football team, Parker said the first time he held an organized practice was on Nov. 17. This was just before their first scrimmage at home against James Monroe.
“They looked like they weren’t even out of shape and that was a big surprise,” Parker said. “I told them we are two weeks behind everybody that started basketball, but we’ll do a lot of running to keep up.”
Last year’s team and district leading scorer Montie Gould will return this season along with backcourt mate Keane Foster. They will be joined by DezJohn Parker, Shamar Shanks, Devonta Harris and Jaquan Lancaster.
To help his team, Parker said he also made the request to add some new and higher classification teams to their regular season schedule such as Franklin, Riverbend and Liberty.
“To get them ready for the Northern Neck,” Parker said. “It’s a tough district…we have got to fight to get what we want and hopefully do our job this year.”
Parker said he shares a common goal like all coaches: to win the Northern Neck District and have an opportunity to compete for a state championship.
The Drifters will have their first season opener on Nov. 28 against King & Queen before hosting their second home game of the season to Liberty on Dec. 4. Both games begin at 6 p.m. with the JV followed by the varsity. The Drifters host their district opener against Rappahannock on Jan. 4. Game begins at 6 p.m. with the JV and Varsity to follow.
Girls’ basketball fans at Colonial Beach have quite enough to be excited about this season and the future ahead. With success in previous regular and post seasons, the team is continuing to inherit some talented players and they are familiar with winning games.
“I’m hoping we’ll start reaping some rewards for us, but we’re going to be young and going to go through those inexperience mistakes,” said head coach Keith Dickerson. “Hopefully in the next couple of years it should show some dividends.”
In the meantime, the girls led by all-district members and seniors Caneisha Fulcher and Karley will have the challenge of leading a large number of young basketball players this season.
“My two seniors…they are accustomed to winning and doing things that they are not going to be able to do this year,” Dickerson said. “Those two are going to have to play out of their heads.”
Although most of the young players are used to winning games, their coaching staff and returners still have to help them adjust to the learning curve of varsity play.
Freshmen Megan Seaman and Deniya Newman, are among the top newcomers joining the team this season. They will join the following to round out the roster this season: McKenzie Conway, Emily Parks, Billie Gould, Chandale Dillon, Kora Herrod, Tniyzsa Taylor and Kaitlyn Proffitt.
In the past two seasons, the Drifters have always been a win away from qualifying for the Group A Division 1 Basketball Tournament. Last season, they had an opportunity to meet district rival Rappahannock in the Region A Division 1 Championship. Rappahannock went on to the win the region championship for the first time in school history after finishing fourth in the district.
“To get to the state tournament a lot of things have to line up,” Dickerson said. “But with this group, I have high expectations that they will get better. It’s more of a reloading phase.”
The Drifters finished second in the district with an overall record of 15-9, 6-4 in the district and fell in the Region Division 1 Semifinals.
The ladies will travel for second regular season game to King & Queen on Nov. 28 before hosting their second home game of the season to King George on Dec. 11. Both games begin at 6 p.m. with the JV followed by the varsity. The Drifters will be on the road for their district opener at Rappahannock on Jan. 3.