Seniors Reach Pinnacle

The boys basketball season started this week with scrimmages against Midlothian and Glen Allen. The team looks to improve on last year with 7 returning seniors. Also returning to the Royals are two all conference players. Senior Christian Chappell made first team All Conference, while senior Tevin Tucker made second team All Conference.

But with VHSL’s new rules on conferences, there will be no All-Conference teams anymore. There will only be an All Region team divided up by 15 teams. The tournament that concludes the season, only consists of the top 8 teams in the region.

“I expect the list to be big, but also competitive,” head coach Travis Carr said.

The team had a great offseason as they played their fair share of out of season games, so they should come into the season with a good knowledge of their opponents.

“We have played 32 out of season games, so we know our opponents pretty well,” Carr said.

Near the end of the offseason, one of the starting five from the previous season came up with a severe injury at a fall league game. Senior Jeffery Robinson tore his ACL and will not be back for three to four months. Robinson now has a new leadership role from the sidelines.

“It’s like having another coach with us,” junior Jajour Lambert said. “He motivates us and fixes our mistakes, so we don’t make them again.”

Robinson scored between 15 and 20 points mostly every game, so without that scoring in the lineup his teammates will have to step their game up.

“Tevin has been more aggressive towards the rim and kicking it out to the shooters when he is not in a predicament to score,” Chappell said. “[Also, senior] Tynan Bassett has been a scoring machine this summer.”

Having ample seniors on a team sometimes makes it difficult for leaders to step out. So it is more difficult for younger players to learn how to be a leader if no one steps to the plate. From the squad that is returning from last year, seniors Tynan Bassett and Jordaen Scott are the leaders that stepped up.

“They have been the most vocal players on the team,” Robinson said. “They point out the mistakes the team makes as a whole while playing hard every game.”
One of the Royals go-to players is Chappell, towering over most defenders that go against him, standing at 6 feet 10 inches tall.

Something unique about him is that not only is his post game one of his best attributes, but he can pop out to the corner and hit three’s too.

Late last year, sophomore Johnny Soto transferred in from New York. Once he came out and practiced once or twice, the guys liked playing with him and Carr was impressed with his playing abilities.

“The first time I met Johnny, he was ready to join the team,” Carr said. “He played on a varsity team as a freshman, even though that was in a different state with different teammates – he does have some experience.”

Recently, Carr hired two new assistants to help coach his team. One of the coaches, Donald Johnson, is a Prince George High School alumni.

“Donald Johnson is a former player back from 2003, and was a standout here,” Carr said. “It’s great that he is joining the staff from an alumni perspective.”
Carr hopes to take advantage of his new staff and leadership from his players in their future game against Hopewell.

“Hopewell is going to be tough [for the Royals this year],” said Carr. “Hopefully, we actually play them 3 times, the third time hopefully in the championship at the Holiday Tournament.”