PREP HOOPS PREVIEW: Questions linger as Trojans aim for return to postseason

Dougherty's Kendall Hicks

Dougherty's Kendall Hicks

ALBANY - There's no McArthur Gaines. No Arabian Williams. No Bryan Bryant.

Or is there?

It's hard to tell, but there very well could be another dynamic scorer at Dougherty High this season. If there is, head coach Donald Poole will find him and make another run at the Region 1-AAA title by doing what he does best -- play everybody and see who floats to the top.

"Everybody should get some playing time," Dougherty senior guard Kendall Hicks said.

The starting lineup, as Poole says, is "subject to change."

Hicks and senior Darrell Anthony, who can play nearly every spot on the court, will help lead the Trojans in the early going until the rest of the rotation shakes out.

"Those two are the most (experienced) players we have coming back," Poole said.

The Trojans, who are coming off a 12-8 season and a first-round loss in the Class AAA playoffs, know there's only one way to find leaders. They'll tip it up and start their season Saturday at 8:30 p.m. against Albany at the Civic Center in one heck of an opener.

Dougherty lost three clear-cut starters from last year, while Anthony is the only returning starter and Hicks saw several starts and plenty of critical minutes. After that, new faces are abound.

"We've got some young players stepping up," said Anthony, a 6-foot-2 forward who knows nothing will come easy in Region 1-AAA. "Every game in this region is tough. You've got to play every game like a championship game. We feel like we can beat anybody in the region."

The Trojans' size in the frontcourt was a concern a year ago, but they fought their way to a No. 4 seed in the region playoffs. Telvin Smith, a 6-foot-6 center, and 6-foot-3 Mike Jones give them more depth in the post this season as juniors.

As is his modus operandi, Poole remains cryptic on his expectations.

"We don't have a choice," the veteran coach said. "We've got to play with what we've got."

Other Trojans that may be big contributors this season include junior guard Tavarious Nelson, who, like Anthony, can play anywhere on the floor. Sophomore Alfred Brown, labeled a sharpshooter by Hicks, can let it fly from long range, similar to junior Joshua Lewis, who has played since his freshman season.

Lewis, though, won't play in the opener Saturday vs. Albany due to an undisclosed reason that Poole wouldn't discuss.

Looking Ahead

WHO: Albany vs. Dougherty.

WHAT: Season opener for both the boys and girls teams.

WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Saturday -- girls game; 8:30 p.m. Saturday -- boys game.

WHERE: Albany Civic Center.