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Boys basketball: Sutherland hopeful Redskins can improve on last season’s run

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Hurricane boys basketball team reached the State Tournament for the first time last season and Redskins Coach Lance Sutherland hopes the journey back to the Charleston Civic Center takes far less time.

"Last year was amazing," Sutherland said. "The ride was worth it all for everybody. It took a long time and you never know when it is going to happen again, so everybody enjoyed every moment. What made is so great was the community support."

Sutherland said the future of the program will reap the benefits of the success of the 2012-13 team.

"It really helped with the incoming freshmen," he said. "We have about 20-to-30 participating in the summer program, and before we usually ran between six and 10. That is almost triple the numbers."

Sutherland is taking full advantage of the three-week practice period with a full week of games in an effort to get a good look at all the newcomers.

Hurricane played St. Albans last Friday. The Redskins will go to Ironton, Ohio, to play several teams Friday and Saturday. The team will also play at George Washington and will scrimmage at Buffalo next week, as well.

"It gives me a chance to see players that haven't started or (had) much playing time," Sutherland said. "They will be the ones getting all the playing time against good competition. They will be able to help the team out and when it comes time during the season, they are game ready."

The newcomers getting playing time will join a roster and program in good shape, coming off last season's success and one that returns most of its players.

Rising senior Henry Sorsaia was an All-Kanawha Valley selection and highlights the Redskins returnees.

Sorsaia, a 6-foot-5 post player for the Redskins, averaged 14.1 points per game as a junior, and Sutherland has even higher hopes for him this season.

"He has been going to camps, and doing a great job," Sutherland said. "I look for him to do good things for us. He can play at the Division II level or a small D-I. Offensively, he may play the three or four for us. He has been working hard on his dribbling and passing."

Besides Sorsaia, Sutherland also welcomes back two starters in Trey Dawson (14.1 points per game) and Alex Estep, as well as the sixth man from last year, Noah Fenerty.

Garrett DeFries, J.T. Rogoszewski, Ethan Rennick, Sean Stallo and Alex Osborne all played pivotal roles last season, and will be expected to contribute even more this season.

Sutherland is still ecstatic about last year, and just as happy with both the present and future for the Hurricane program.

"We are on a good run of athletes," Sutherland said. "We have good athletes at Hurricane. We have a good core for the next couple years, and hopefully things keep going the way they have been going.

Contact sportswriter Christopher Wade at chris.wade@dailymail.com or 304-348-1735.


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