Manassas Park's domination of the district seems to have come to an end with the graduation of five players that combined to score 70 points a game. Central returns six players from its 16-2 second-place squad and is the favorite. Brentsville
The Tigers (3-17 overall last year) will have to use the new three-point shot to generate offense as they lack size inside. The guard play should be solid with honorable mention all-District Melvin Skinner returning along with his 15 points and eight rebounds a game.
Brian Scherer, a 6-1 junior forward, and James Morgan, a 5-10 guard, must contribute quickly as the Tigers need scoring to make up for the loss of Matt Przybocki, Derrick Mayhugh and Chris Alverez, the nucleus of last year's squad.Central
The Falcons (16-2) could be the team to beat as they return six players from a very successful 1986 team.
It will be a family affair in Woodstock as Coach Jerry Walters club will be led by his sons, Jeff and Brett. Jeff, a 6-2 senior, will start at the shooting guard while Brett, a 5-9, junior plays the point. Last season they averaged seven and eight points, respectively.
Pat Cook, a 6-4 senior forward, along with seniors Bradley Moyers and Mike Yew and junior Paul Thomas give the Falcons plenty of experience. And, newcomers Charlie Cooper (6-3), Todd Gilbert (6-6) and Brit Scott (6-5) provide the size. Clarke County
The Eagles (5-15) return five lettermen from last year's squad and first-year Coach Ed Brosh's hard-working group hopes to improve on last season's woes. Seniors Bryant Harper (5-9, guard), Derek Call (5-9, guard), Kevin Arthur (5-11, forward), Neal Longerbeam (6-0, forward) and Terry Bartlett (6-2, forward) provide the Eagles with plenty of experience.
Brosh will need to find someone to fill the middle and they will make up their lack of height with an aggressive man-to-man defense and occasional press. George Mason
The Mustangs (5-15) have struggled for several seasons but are cautiously optimistic this year.
Five players with considerable playing experience return from last year's squad. Seniors Joe Beaman (5-10, guard), Chris Casey (6-2, forward) and Chris Lanier (6-3, forward) will provide most of the scoring as they averaged eight, eight and 12 points, respectively. Gary Todd (6-4), who averaged 10 rebounds last season, returns in the middle. James Lightfoot, a 5-7 point guard, will run the show.
Malcolm Scully (6-3) and Steve Shick (6-3) move up from the junior varsity to help on the boards and Joey Romer and Ryan Malisko will see time at guard.
The Mustangs will run a motion offense and must play as a team to be successful as they lack the one standout player. On defense they are primarily a man-to-man team as Coach Mark Wallace plans to take advantage of his team's depth to put constant pressure on opposing teams.Manassas Park
The Cougars (23-4 last year) return three seniors, but none played very much. Larry Heflin (6-0), Tony Polk (6-3) and Bobby Anderson (6-2) know what its like to be part of winning program, but not how it feels on the court. They will provide the leadership for two freshmen, a sophomore and a junior.
Sophomore Ray Bentham (6-2) is likely to take over at the point. Freshmen Bill Mullins (6-1) and Nelson Hogan (5-10) will see time at guard and forward while junior Carl Peace (6-3) will provide depth in the frontcourt.
Coach Chip Miller said, "it will take a while to get our feet wet." But the fifth-year coach figures his team to be competitive. Page County
The Panthers (10-11) return four of five starters. Point guard Kevin Comer (5-6, seven assists per game) graduated, leaving the job for last year's sixth man, Keith Grimsley (6-3).
Coach Stan Price has a pair of double figure scorers in 6-3 forward Alan Cloud (10 points) and guard Mike Keyser (6-1, 15 points). Center Tom Warren (6-7) averaged eight rebounds a game and starting small forward Keith Nauman also returns. Guard Billy Lewis (5-5) and center Jeff Turner (6-2), both juniors, should fill sixth and seventh man roles.
Page County's problem last year was it was a little too slow and too inexperienced. This year they will be experienced, but the team will have to use its strength in a half court game to its advantage. The Panthers will use a 1-3-1 matchup zone to take advantage of its height. Rappahannock County
The Panthers (12-10) are big. Returning forwards Butch Foster (6-5) and Godfrey Freeman (6-6) will be joined by Doug Smith (6-4) to give the Panthers a very formidable front line. Foster averaged 12 points and eight rebounds a year ago while Freeman tallied 11 points and 10 rebounds. Eric Dunn, a 6-2 junior guard will run the show.
If Rappahannock gets good guard play and can shoot well enough from the outside to keep teams from sagging into the middle this could be a big year for the Panthers. Stonewall (Mt.) Jackson
The Generals (12-10), of Shenandoah County, are another team whose hopes will rest on the play of the guards. Brian Good (6-7) averaged 10 points and 12 rebounds last season and Greg Clinedinst (6-3) should improve on his average of five points and five rebounds of a year ago. Ronnie Buchanan (6-1) will start at the other forward spot after averaging about nine points as a junior.
The question marks are at guard where John Cox and Charles Fultz appear to have the starting nods. Fultz played some last year as a junior. If the backcourt develops enough to force teams to play honest inside, Good could be great. Strasburg
The Rams (10-10 overall last year), of Shenandoah County, return three starters, but the football team's success is putting them at an early season disadvantage. The first few games of the season are likely to be postponed, but it won't help the Rams' football players catch up on several weeks of missed practice time.
Mark Roller, the junior signal caller on the football team, will also be the basketball team's quarterback at point guard. Roller, in his third year on the varsity, averaged 10 points and five assists a game. Also returning will be all-District forward Mike Bischoff (17 points) and 6-3 forward/center David Keller, both seniors.
Mike Atkins (6-2) also had experience coming off the bench, and sophomore Charles Robinson (6-1) or senior Jody Hudson (5-8) will fill the fifth starting spot. One thing is for sure though -- Strasburg will press, and in many different ways.