DUBLIN — West Bladen coach Travis Pait only lost one starter from his varsity Knights basketball team, but it left some big shoes to fill.
Gone from last season’s team that finished 20-8 overall and 9-5 in the Four County Conference is point guard Stefan McDonald, who averaged 17 points per game for the Knights. Also lost to graduation were Malique McDowell and Will Lambeth, each of whom gave West Bladen quality minutes off the bench.
Returning to the starting lineup for the Knights will be Sayaun Dent, John Bowen, Jonathan Robinson and Keshawn Lewis.
“We’re not really that good right now,” Pait said after Tuesday’s 67-52 loss to Red Springs at home. “But we’ll get there.”
Pait is looking at two players up from last season’s jayvee to step in and help West Bladen, Gerardo Reyes and Drew Harris. Each will need to fit into the Knights’ motion offense and become adept with Pait’s man-to-man defense.
West Bladen is also going to work on other challenges.
“We have good length on the floor, but we’re not very deep on the bench,” Pait said.
Before the conference season arrives, Pait thinks his Knights will see an improved Clinton team and a lot of parity.
“Clinton will be the best team in the league,” Pait said. “East Bladen, Pender, Wallace-Rose Hill and Trask will battle for second — then Midway and Union.:”
After the Thanksgiving break, West Bladen will host South Brunswick on Tuesday.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.