Under the direction of head coach Perry Webster, the Hornets head to the CCCAA state playoffs for the third straight year. The former Orange Empire Conference coach of the year guided the Hornets to a 20-7 overall record while going 9-3 in the OEC resulting in a second place finish.
Throughout the season, the Hornets have had more than their fair share of breakouts stars coming from their freshman and sophomore players.
The only three returning stars, sophomores Nigel Carter, Andre Kennedy and Dezmond Rowen are averaging 51 minutes and 12 points per game combined. Under their veteran leadership, the Hornets have secured a Regional Playoff spot with their new look team on the road to redemption.
“We’re old and we have some freshman as well so we’re very in the middle with the culture and everything… we have different styles of play and different knowledge,” said freshman forward Vaj Rice.
With the additions of first team all conference sophomore guard Jason Richardson and second team all conference guard Khalil Stevenson, the front court has been on the rise and a big part of the team’s success. Soaring as the team’s leading scorer averaging more than 18 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds per game, Richardson has given new light to the Hornets. Meanwhile Stevenson’s 10 points and 3 rebounds per game has proved he is a reliable piece to the Hornets offense.
“I feel like that was just me working with my team out there. They keep me going. They tell me what I’m doing wrong and what I’m doing good. They let me know the truth. I think that’s what’s important for everybody,” said Richardson.
From the frontcourt to the backcourt, stars are shinning bright for the twin towers on the Hornets. Freshman center Ronnie Readus, along with the previously mentioned Rice, have been tremendous under the basket. Readus is averaging 9 points, 6 rebounds per game, while Rice has been able to add 9 points and 5 rebounds per game to hold down the paint for the Hornets.
As a unit, the Hornets rank in the top four in a number of statistical categories in the OEC including field goal percentage, 3-point shooting percentage, free throw percentage and rebounds.
“We’re very confident as a unit because we’ve got a strong core… we have strengths all over the court from the point to the wing to the shooting guard,” said Readus.
The 20-win Hornets are not done, as their road to redemption begins on Friday at home against Allan Hancock College at 7 p.m.
“We’re excited, we’re ready for the challenge. We’re more than prepared,” Rice added.
The championship hopes go beyond wanting to be known as 2017-2018 CCCAA state champions, the Hornets also want to bring home a championship for their head coach.
“It’d mean a lot. It’d mean a lot for me, the whole team and especially for Perry,” said Stevenson.
“To win the state championship would mean the world,” Richardson added. “That’s what everybody is here for. We just all want to win state.”