Chapelgate 2017-18 boys basketball preview

2016-17 record: 5-8 MIAA B, 14-17

Coach: Frick Frierson

Top players: Seniors Blake Hatcher (G), Jalen Morant (G), Brandon Wise (G), Bo Wesley (C); juniors Odell Dickerson (F), Cameron Heard (G).

What you need to know: Chapelgate will look to push the pace a lot more this year after losing two frontcourt players and welcoming back two guards who missed last season because of injuries.

A year ago, the Yellowjackets relied heavily on 6-foot-8 sophomore center Jason Murphy, an all-conference and first-team All-County player who led the team with 15.0 points and 11.7 rebounds per game en route to tallying 17 double-doubles. He also averaged a county-best 3.5 blocks per contests.

Murphy is gone now, having transferred to St. Frances in the offseason. Chapelgate (2-3, 0-1 MIAA B) also graduated forward Cliff McEachin, another quality post presence and the team’s second-leading scorer at 10.1 points per game.

In their absence, senior Blake Hatcher expects seniors Bo Wesley and senior Paris Young to make contributions to what has become a guard-oriented squad.

“Jason was a great player. He complimented our team a lot,” Hatcher said. “But I think we’re going to be a lot better team this year because we can speed up the game.”

Hatcher, after missing last season with a torn ACL and meniscus, has joined seniors Brandon Wise and Jalen Morant in the starting backcourt. Junior Cameron Heard is also back after a season-long broken wrist injury.

Frierson said these additions give the Yellowjackets several capable options to make up for losing last year’s top player.

“We’re feeling really good about the team,” Frierson said. “Last year we played with Jason, but we were missing [Hatcher and Heard], so it’s the same. It just looks a little different.”

Reach Kyle Stackpole at kstackpole@baltsun.com or follow him on Twitter @kylefstackpole

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