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Woodridge boys basketball team ends season with progress

3/6/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

PENINSULA — The Woodridge High School boys basketball team finished the season with a 7-16 overall record and a 7-5 mark in a season that first-year head coach Ric Blevins said included “lots of ups and downs.”

“We played really well at times, and we really struggled at other times,” he said. “A lot of graduation from the year before left us with some inexperienced, albeit older, players. It was a hill that we never really got over, but they really worked hard and bought into what we were trying to do. When you look on paper and you’ve got one kid with varsity playing experience coming back for you, it’s difficult to gauge what you can reasonably expect to win.”

The player who came back with a fair amount of varsity experience, Blevins said, was senior forward Armad Richey-Conrad.

“He was a leader for us on the floor,” the coach said. “Honestly, the games that we won and we had success are the games where he played very well. Small forward is where he’s suited, but he did have to play in the paint for us quite a bit because we do lack a lot of size.”

Blevins said junior Christian Owens, who also returned from the previous season, is “a very good role player” for Woodridge.

“He is the type of kid who will defend. He is the type of kid who will rebound,” the coach said. “Offensively, he struggles at times, but he’s 6-foot-2, and we’re asking him to play in the post against kids where he is giving up 3 or 4 inches and 30 pounds most of the time.”

Two other players who played key roles in the post for Woodridge this season, Blevins said, were junior Mike Seminatore and senior Jordan Adamson.

“Mike is about 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3, and he is very similar to Christian size-wise, but he’s a little more athletic,” the coach said. “Jordan came to us from North Carolina, and he didn’t play basketball last season. He’s a senior, so unfortunately we only got one year with him. He played pretty well in the post, and he was our biggest player at about 6-foot-6, but he was pretty raw.”

Starting in the backcourt for Woodridge was sophomore guard Keaon Potts.

“Keaon is a very athletic basketball player. He wants to be a point guard, and we’ve tried to accommodate him a little bit, but he’s more natural as a two,” Blevins said. “He’s a pretty good shooter, although he struggled at times this year at shooting the basketball. By the end of the season, though, he was our most consistent guard, and he had some of his better games towards the back end of the season. He’s somebody who has a tremendous ceiling, and he could be a very, very good basketball player for us down the road.”

Senior guard Alex Jenkins also spent half the year in a starting role, the coach said.

“We just found out during the season that Alex was so much better suited coming off the bench,” he said. “He had some really big nights. He scored 26 at Southeast in a game that we were down at halftime and ended up winning by 10. A lot of that was on him. He just played really well coming off the bench. We had kind of forced him into a starting role, but it took away from what he could naturally do.”

Another senior on this year’s team was John Harry.

“He could shoot the ball really well, and he had some good games for us,” Blevins said.

According to the coach, this year’s team “absolutely” made progress throughout the season.

“Day in and day out, the kids came into practice and they worked hard,” he said. “It’s tough any time you are getting used to a new coach and a new coaching staff, but when you are inexperienced, it’s even more of a difficult situation. I thought our seniors handled everything really well. It’s a great group of kids.”

Blevins said he’s excited to see how his team comes back next season.

“We’re looking forward to getting to work this summer,” he said. “I was hired late and pretty much missed any opportunity that we would have had to do anything as a team last summer, but we’re excited about the opportunity to get together and start working to get better. I’ve got some very, very good young players who are coming into our program next year and the year following, and I’ve got some very good freshman players right now, so we’re excited. We think we’ve got a lot of talent on its way, and we think with our system and that talent, we’ll be a pretty good basketball team the next couple of years.”

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