All-Met Sports, The Washington Post

Virginia 6A North region 2016-17 boys’ basketball preview

CONFERENCE 5

Top teams: Chantilly (13-14), Herndon (13-11), Oakton (10-13), Westfield(26-3)

Top players

G Liam Harrington, Herndon, 6-1, Sr.

G Markos Eyob, Robinson, 5-11, Sr.

G Michael Griffin, Herndon, 6-1, Sr.

Skinny: Westfield doesn’t return a single starter from last year’s Virginia 6A state championship squad, but the Bulldogs did add sophomore guard Jordan Hairston from O’Connell. Junior swingman Nick Albert and junior forward Will Glowacki will provide experience, and the Bulldogs will get a boost from senior Sean Eckert and others when they join the team after the Bulldogs’ football playoff run ends . . . .

Chantilly returns five starters and could be the favorite to win the conference behind Bret Caslavka, who averaged 12.2 points last year, and Elijah Ford, the conference’s defensive player of the year. The Chargers will also get a big boost from sophomore point guard Kendall McHugh, who averaged 7.8 points and close to six assists per game as a freshman. . . .

Herndon could also challenge for a conference title with the returning back-court tandem of Liam Harrington (14.9 points per game) and Michael Griffin (16.8).

Oakton returns a big three of Jacob PoszBraeden Johnson and Zachary Sickels, all of whom averaged more than nine points per game in the Cougars’ nine-win 2015-16 season. . . .  Robinson  (13-11) boasts a nine-man senior class, including returing top scorer and electric guard Markos Eyob (14.5 points per game). . . .   Centreville (6-13) will look for Marcus Mack and Sahil Mehta to fill the void left by the conference’s second-highest scorer in 2015-16, William Unterkofler.

CONFERENCE 6

Top teams: South Lakes (13-12), Langley (20-6)

Top players

G Langston Gaither, Hayfield, 6-3, Sr.

F Emmanuel Aghayere, South Lakes, 6-4, Jr.

Skinny:

South Lakes is the favorite to win the conference after returning four starters from a team that finished around .500 a year ago. Power forward Emmanuel Aghayere averaged 12.3 points and almost 10 rebounds per game . Guard Marcus Cherry averaged 10.2 points per game. . . .

Langley won the conference in 2015-16 but graduated its two top scorers. Colter Carton and Chas Battaglia, who each averaged almost seven points per game, will lead the Saxons’ offense and should get contributions from Grant Hughes and Chase Beckett. . . .

Madison (17-5) graduated its top two scorers from last year’s conference runner-up team. The Warhawks will look for a larger contribution from Johnny Corish (8.1 points per game). . . . Hayfield (8-16) will try to improve its standing behind slasher Langston Gaither (15.3 points per game) and athletic guard Brian Cobbs (11.1). . . . Fairfax (12-11) graduated four of its five top scorers after a third-place finish last year but will be bolstered by Jacquez Napper-Braxton (O’Connell) and Tykeem Hogan(Oakton). . . .

Chris Ozgo (10.1 points per game) is the lone returning starter for Washington-Lee  (10-14). . . . Yorktown  returns top scorer Connor Van Kirk (10.8 points per game) after a 9-13 season. . . . McLean (3-20) will lean on sophomore guard Matias Prock to help the Highlanders take a step forward in 2016-17.

CONFERENCE 7

Top teams: West Potomac (19-8), W.T. Woodson (10-15)

Top players

G Jason Aigner, W.T. Woodson, 6-1, Sr.

G Khalil Williams-Diggins, West Potomac, 5-10, Sr.

G Riley Welch, West Springfield, 6-0, Sr.

Skinny: Defending conference tournament champion West Potomac is the leading candidate to lead the way again behind senior guard Khalil Williams-Diggins, who averaged 15.8 points per game last season. The Wolverines also bring back twin forwards Da’Jon and Da’Jaun Bellfieldand sophomore guard Daryl Mackey Jr. . . .

W.T. Woodson returns a strong back court with Jason Aigner, who averaged 14.8 points per game last season, and Simon Mulaa (9.8 points per game). . . . West Springfield graduated the scoring talent that helped the Spartans (24-6) run away with the conference regular season race. Point guard Riley Welch will look to shepherd in a new crop of scorers and go after a title in this wide open league. . . .

T.C. Williams (10-8) had its offseason derailed after Coach Bryan Hill was dismissed in November a week before tryouts began. The school hired former freshman Coach Walt Coleman to replace him. The Titans graduated their two top scorers but return a solid nucleus of talent in forward Fahmmi MamoJaquan Johnson and Teyan Williams. . . .

Lake Braddock (15-10) finished third in the conference last year behind the play of dominant 6-foot-7 post James Butler (Navy). This year, the Bruins will play through guards Corey Pelham (13.9 points per game) and Quentin James (8.1). . . . Mount Vernon (10-11) will rely on guard Alpha Kamara for a scoring punch after the Majors lost most of the rest of their offense to graduation. . . .

South County (8-14) returns a pair of guards —  E.J. Johnsonand Veronta Jones — who the Stallions hope will guide them past a seventh-place finish last year. . . . Annandale (4-19) has a high-scoring trio of guards in Dontae Johnson (17.2 points per game), Jordan Adams(14.8) and Matthew McKiver (12.6) that could help the Atoms climb out of the conference cellar.

CONFERENCE 8

Top teams: Battlefield (22-7), Stonewall Jackson (15-7)

Top players

G Brayden Gault, Battlefield, 6-4, Jr.

G Jordan Gibson, Stonewall Jackson, 6-5, Jr.

G Ike Onwuka, Patriot, 5-8, Jr.

F Shonari Street, Battlefield, 6-5, Sr.

Skinny: Even after graduating top scorer Blake Pagon, Battlefieldremains the prohibitive favorite in Conference 8. The defending 6A North region champions boast size and athleticism up and down their roster, led by versatile all-conference guard Brayden Gault. Senior guard Joe Davis’s offseason improvement should help make up for floor general Collin Parker’s graduation, while 6-foot-7 sophomore center Josh Odur will make for a nice complement alongside Shonari Street in the paint. . . .

Stonewall Jackson graduated four starters from last year’s squad, but a well-rounded junior class will keep the Raiders in contention. Junior point guard Antonio Warner has some big shoes to fill following the departure of volume scorer Keaton Simmons, though he and Jordan Gibson are capable of picking up the slack on offense. . . . Leading scorer and football standout Anthony Pearson leads a talented Osbourn (14-8) squad that could play a spoiler role come playoff time. . . .

Patriot (6-19) hopes former Potomac (Va.) assistant Sherman Rivers can help the Pioneers strike out a new path in his first year as a head coach. . . . Osbourn Park (2-15) also welcomes a new coach to the fold this year. Former Lake Braddock assistant Steven Miles will rely on Adonis Turayand Brooke Point transfer Andrew Sanderson to guide the Yellow Jackets’ young back court.

 https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/highschools/virginia-6a-north-region-2016-17-boys-basketball-preview/2016/11/30/213a72f2-b4f2-11e6-9fa1-ff5eb54db157_story.html?utm_term=.0cb19d9d5ef3
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