Winter Sports Preview




Carman-Ainsworth’s Harmany Williams shoots under pressure from a Grand Blanc defender in Tuesday night’s game at Grand Blanc.

Carman-Ainsworth’s Harmany Williams shoots under pressure from a Grand Blanc defender in Tuesday night’s game at Grand Blanc.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Coach: Jay Witham

Years coaching: Three

Last year: 9-13 overall, 3-7 Saginaw Valley League

Losses: Guards Leon Bell and Juwan Evans

Returning: Seniors: Guards Josh Jackson, Cahlil Brownlee and Jarell Giles, forwards Jaylen Bradley, Isaac Gillum and Juwan Willis; Junior: Gurad Chan Pearson; Sophomore: Point guard Ja’Kavien Lewis.

Season overview: One key part of the equation for the Cavs in 2015-16 will be the talent that’s new to the varsity This includes juniors Arron Williams, a guard, and forward Christian Gillarm, sophomore guard Omari Duncan and freshmen Terry Armstrong, a guard, and forward Michael Fletcher.

“With our increase length this year we should defend and rebound the ball better. We need to improve on our on-ball defense, shot selection and overall basketball IQ,” said Witham. “We ended the season last year winning five of our last six. With the addition of the newcomers we are looking to improve on last year’s season. It will take a tougher mindset on the defensive end and out hustling our opponents to improve.” — M.S.

Junior Damien Wilkes is one of several underclassmen back in the Cavaliers’ starting lineup, wrestling at 119 pounds this year.

Junior Damien Wilkes is one of several underclassmen back in the Cavaliers’ starting lineup, wrestling at 119 pounds this year.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Coach: Lance Belill

Years coaching: Two

Last year: 15-9, 6-4 Saginaw Valley League-South

Losses: Sydnee McDonald, Natalia Kincaid, Cha’Quia Jones

Returning: Harmany Williams, Sr., Chelsey Carpenter, Sr., Randi Richardson, Sr., Eriona Lee-Chambers, Sr., Shakara Johnson, Jr., Nakiya Earley, So..

Carman-Ainsworth (white cap) lined up on the blocks against Lapeer last season in a Saginaw Valley League meet at the Lapeer Community Center.

Carman-Ainsworth (white cap) lined up on the blocks against Lapeer last season in a Saginaw Valley League meet at the Lapeer Community Center.

Newcomers: Destiny Strother, Fr., Lauryn Green, Jr., Alaysia Fowlkes, Jr.

Season overview: The Lady Cavs came on strong in the second half of last season to win a Class A district championship, then graduated a ton of offense when Kincaid and SVL-South MVP McDonald moved on to college ball.

But five other players return, and Richardson is also back after sitting out last year with an ACL injury. She scored 22 points in the season opener last week at Swartz Creek.

“We lost some points last year, but this team is completely different because they play as a team,” said Belill. “Not that we didn’t play as a team before, but the chemistry and the unselfishness is pretty amazing so far. We’re looking forward to the season.” – D.N.

BOWLING

Boys

Coach: Tim Nunn

Years coaching: Three

Last year: 9-3 Saginaw Valley League

Losses: Dequincy Adams

Returning: Jordan Nunn, Sr., Milton Gibson, Sr., Robert Wheeler, Jr., Jordan Bair, Sr., Wanya Montgomery, So..

Newcomers: Masen Ancira, Fr., Malachi Batson, Sr.

Season overview: Both Nunn and the Cavs were second in the Div. 1 regional last year, and Nunn earned the No. 1 seed for match play at state. All but one bowler from that team are back for another strong run in the SVL and the state tournament.

GIRLS

Coach: Paul Ballard

Years coaching: Two

Last year: 6-6 Saginaw Valley League

Losses: Bernardette Gruber, Hannah Miller

Returning: Caity Cox, Jr., Montanna Andrews, Jr., Jazmine Cozart, Jr., Kennedy Hogan, So., Tiara Poe, Sr.

Newcomers: Molly Doty, Fr., Jacquelynn Davis, Fr., Tiara Watson, Sr.

Season overview: The Lady Cavs have four bowlers back from last year’s regional lineup, led by state qualifier Cox. Most have improved their averages so far this year, with Andrews up by 34 pins to a team-high 172 and Hogan climbing by 20 pins. Watson transfers in from Southwestern with a 167 average, and freshman Doty is off to a 164 start. Cox is at 169.

“With more competitive averages, we look forward to a more competitive season, which will include more match victories (11 matches in the Saginaw Valley) and a more competitive tournament season,” said Ballard. – D.N.

WRESTLING

Coach: Tom Weissend

Years coaching: Six

Last year: Sixth in Saginaw Valley League tournament

Losses: Milik Dawkins, Demetric Hall, Darien Vaughn

Returning: Jacob Yost, Soph., Ronald Roland, Jr., Damien Wilkes, Jr., Nathan DeLong, So., Elijah Brandon, Sr., Grayden Hamilton, Jr.

Season overview: The Cavaliers have two state qualifiers back as the foundation of a very young team. Yost was the team’s Rookie of the Year after going 38-21 at 112 pounds and reaching The Palace as a freshman. Roland was 33-16 at 215 as a sophomore.

There is other returning talent. DeLong had 30 wins as a freshman 130-pounder, and Hamilton was a regional qualifier at heavyweight as a sophomore. Brandon will wrestle at 103 and Wilkes at 119.

“We have one senior in the varsity lineup, maybe two,” said Weissend. “Other than that it’s all sophomores and juniors. We’re looking at having a decent year this year and building into a stronger year next season.” – D.N.

SWIM AND DIVE

Coach: Abbey Cowen

Years: 2 at Carman-Ainsworth

Last year: only won one meet

Losses: Five

Key swimmers: Wyatt Pangrel, Jr., will most likely be swimming 100 free and 100 breast; Carson Koegel, So., will be swimming the 200 IM, 50 Free, 100 Fly, and 100 Free.

Season overview: After severing ties with Flushing last year after the Raiders joined the Flint Metro League, Carman- Ainsworth joined forces with the boys’ and girls’ team to make up the losses. This time around, Cowen said the programs will try to go it alone with the girls in the fall and the boys in the winter to grow the programs as standalones.

“This year we decided to split our seasons and try to grow both programs,” said Cowen, who moves up from an assistant to the head coaching position. “We currently have 14 members on the team, a couple being girls that played volleyball during the fall. I look forward to seeing each of our swimmers grow as athletes and become faster and more experienced swimmers.”

Cowen realizes it may take a couple seasons to put the team in contention with its local rivals. For now, her goal is to get the numbers up and the swimmers’ times down.

“We do not have the depth to realistically expect to win many meets, but our focus can be on growing our program and dropping time individually,” Cowen stressed. – L.P.


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