2004-11-26 / Sports

Beach Channel 2004-2005 Basketball Preview

By Elio Velez

Beach Channel’s Dwayne Messam and Devon Saxon will have to carry the load this season.
Beach Channel’s Dwayne Messam and Devon Saxon will have to carry the load this season. Beach Channel Dolphins coach Jim Malone was a man in motion during a scrimmage against New Dorp last Saturday. Imploring, pleading, applauding and scolding, Malone tried to will his team to play a cohesive and consistent style of basketball.

The Dolphins, with an inexperienced group which includes nine players that have never played high school ball, threw the ball away and committed numerous turnovers. It wasn’t until the end of the game that Malone’s instructions sunk in to the young team and they corrected their errors to improve near the end of the game.

“We’re very young. They’ve (New Dorp) had 5 scrimmages and they’ve won 23 quarters. They had good guards. They don’t do anything wrong”, Malone said.

For an inexperienced squad and returning only three players from last season’s playoff team, Beach Channel will have an uphill battle to climb this year. They will miss shooting guard Arthur Robertson, whose 26 points and 12 rebounds a game helped them get to the playoffs last year. As a senior, he provided veteran leadership presence along with Michael Pledger, who chipped in with 12 points a game.

Malone won’t give up even if they don’t’ have the stars that have led them to two Queens IIIA division championships in the last three seasons. Malone has been in this situation before where he has to coach young teams. It may take a while for all the lessons to be learned and practiced, but he says that the pieces will eventually fall into place to have a good team soon enough. “Our guys were under pressure. Our offense is very complicated to learn for high school. But we played better here than we were a few days ago (when they played Bishop Ford).

They will have to rely heavily on Dwayne Messam, Devon Saxon, and Michael Hines, who are the only three players to return from last year’s squad. The search for a point guard, which Malone knows is key to running his offense may take a little longer.

“We’ve had some good ones. This year, we’ll do it by committee. But they’re going to get it. That’s why they’re here”.

If things go right and the young players improve, the hopeful finish for the Dolphins would be a .500 record and a playoff spot. Messam remains confident and adamant they will get it together.

“We’re going to the playoffs this year. It’s going to be a hard year”, says Messam.

Dolphins Move On Up

For years, many teams have complained that the Lady Dolphins were just too dominant and didn’t deserve to be in the PSAL ‘B’ division. It wasn’t head coach Victor Nazario’s fault that his team went 34-0 and won two Queens championships in two years. In the PSAL ‘B’ playoffs last season, they suffered a tough loss to Van Buren in the third round

He had petitioned the PSAL a few years ago that his team should have been promoted to the tougher ‘A’ level. Those talented Dolphins teams had dominated their division and wanted to battle against powers like Francis Lewis and Townsend Harris on a regular basis.

The few times the Dolphins had faced those teams in the Queens championships, they were not used to playing tougher teams or tougher competition. In 2003, they were blown out by Francis Lewis and lost to August Martin last season.

This year, the Dolphins were finally granted their request but they won’t have their top talent. Gina Giles, Chaquit Ivory and Delaware State’s Katreem Palmer were among seven seniors that graduated.

Olabusa Soetan, who scored 10 points per game last year, reportedly has left the team and may not return. With most of their scoring gone and now facing off against teams such as PSAL finalist Francis Lewis, there could be some rough times ahead for Beach Channel.

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