At the conclusion of his team's win over Manassas Park on Monday in a Metro South summer league basketball game, Hylton senior center Matt Hewson dropped to the floor in front of the Bulldogs' bench and rattled off 10 push-ups. Several minutes later, before leaving the Stonewall Jackson gymnasium, Hewson hit the deck and cranked out another 10.
The 7-foot-2 Hewson was paying off his debts: For every dunk he records in a game, his father, Clay, gives him $2. But for every missed free throw, Hewson owes his dad 10 push-ups.
On this particular night, Hewson's bankroll did not grow. But his stock is rising. Hewson is being recruited by more than 75 colleges, with Brigham Young and Delaware the hottest pursuers, he said.
This summer, Hewson is trying to bolster his game in two particular areas, with the $2 rewards as token incentives.
"My work habits have become better, and my posting [up] has become a lot stronger," he said. "Now I post [up] more aggressively. That's what the deal is with my dad: To get me to go to the hole instead of [taking] fadeaway jump shots."
Hewson emerged as a defensive force toward the end of last winter, when the Bulldogs (17-7) won their first Cardinal District title and qualified for the Virginia AAA state tournament for the first time in the school's 13-year history. But now they must replace the top six scorers off that team. Five were seniors, and junior guard Justin Jarrett, who scored 10.5 points per game after joining the team at midseason, is likely to transfer back to T.C. Williams, Hylton Coach Kevin Brown said.
The six departing players scored all but five of the Bulldogs' points in an 80-64 loss to Woodside in the state semifinals. So in many ways, the Bulldogs' fortunes hinge on Hewson, who averaged three points per game last season in a reserve role.
"We have a lot of big hopes for him," Brown said. "He's going to have to carry a lot of the burden this coming season."
Hylton's Hayes Gets Offer
It has been an eventful summer for Hylton junior guard Eric Hayes -- one broken nose and one Division I scholarship offer.
Hayes broke his nose playing for the Boo Williams AAU team on a trip to Brazil but since has been back on the court. At Potomac's team camp at West Virginia University last week, Hayes received his first college offer.
"It definitely feels good to know that I already have a scholarship for school," said Hayes, who averaged 12.3 points, 7.6 assists and 3.2 steals per game on a Virginia AAA state runner-up Potomac team last winter. "Hopefully, I can get a few more so I can have some options."
Raiders' Garrett to Play Again
Stonewall Jackson senior Chris Garrett, a potential Division I running back, plans to go out for basketball again after sitting out the past two seasons. Garrett played in the Raiders' 47-44 upset of Osbourn Park on Monday.
"Basketball was kind of like my first sport, really, so I never lost touch with that," said Garrett, who in nine games last season was the area's leading rusher with 1,369 yards, earning him interest from Connecticut, Clemson and Marshall. "I just wanted to give it a go-round for my last year."
Garrett, who ranked in the top three in the area in the 100- and 200-meter dashes during the recently completed outdoor track season, acknowledged another reason for going back to basketball -- it was difficult to sit in the stands and watch the Raiders go 1-22 last season.
Osbourn Girls Win 6 of 7
The Osbourn girls, who went 1-20 last winter, have won six of their first seven games in the Westfield summer league. The Eagles are competing in Division II, with Flint Hill, Broad Run, Centreville, South Lakes, Stone Bridge, Heritage and Battlefield, but also will face the league's Division I teams, such as Madison and Westfield.
"Hopefully, [this success] is huge," said Osbourn Coach Lauren Milburn, who in part credits the girls playing against boys in open gym this spring for the Eagles' improvement.
Osbourn reached the lower division championship game at the University of Richmond team camp last weekend, losing to Georgetown Prep. Another encouraging sign was a loss to Marshall on Monday that was far more competitive than the 82-30 drubbing the Eagles endured when the teams met in December.
"They were smiling today when they came into camp," Milburn said Tuesday.
Lake Seeks New Attitude
Bobby Lake, named Osbourn Park boys' coach in May, has distributed instructional booklets to each of his players outlining his various philosophies. One topic that cannot be easily addressed in that format is desire to win, one of the areas that most concerned Lake after the upset loss to Stonewall on Monday.
Osbourn Park had 15 players in uniform -- some schools struggle to scrape together half that many players -- so the interest is there. But the Yellow Jackets have not posted a winning season since sometime prior to 1990, not including two forfeits that turned a 10-13 record into a 12-11 mark in 2002-03.
"I think that they want to do it; they just have to be told how to do it," said Lake, a Potomac assistant the past seven seasons and former head coach at Brentsville. "And that's my job. I think the athletes are there, but they have to learn a lot about basketball."
Senior forward Chris Fleming, the team's leading scorer last season, contributed 14 points in the loss.
Indians, Cougars to Metro South
Gar-Field and Manassas Park have joined the 12-school Metro South. Gar-Field previously played in D.C. leagues during the summer. Virginia A school Manassas Park played in a Stafford-based league last summer but wanted to stay closer to home and face AAA schools in both the Metro South and Flint Hill summer leagues.
"Last year was such a struggle to get kids up to D.C. that we decided to go ahead and change and see how it went for a year," said Gar-Field Coach Andy Gray, whose team entered the week in second place in the Metro South behind unbeaten Potomac.
Manassas Park, which last winter qualified for the Region B playoffs for the first time since 1995-96, is winless in the Metro South, but that's not exactly the point.
"We're not going to see any of these teams in the Bull Run [District]," Cougars Coach Bob Schaul said. "So if we compete with them, when we go against the Bull Run, they're just going to feel so much [more] dominant. It's hard because they get down on themselves when they lose by 20, but they know in the long run that they're going to make themselves better."
Under Schaul, the Cougars have not been ones to duck challenges. This winter will be no exception. Manassas Park will play at Oakton and at Flint Hill and also will compete in a holiday tournament at Altavista, the defending Virginia A state champion.