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ArlingtonArlington basketball teams look to next season

Arlington basketball teams look to next season

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Looking back a few days, the Washington-Liberty Generals on the boys side and the Yorktown Patriots on the girls were the big success stories of the local 2021-22 high-school basketball season in Arlington.

Each team won Liberty District regular season and tournament championships with only one league loss each. The W-L boys (18-8) went on to finish second in the 6D North Region tournament and advancing to the Class 6 state tourney.

After winning a district tournament for the first time in program history, the Yorktown girls (20-5) went on to fall in the region-tourney semifinals. Despite the loss, the season was considered the Patriots’ best in history.

Looking ahead to next season, will the two teams again be in position to repeat those success stories, or will there be others that emerge?

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Next season is a long way off, but in short, both the W-L boys and Yorktown girls should be in position to have strong squads again, based on returning players who were top contributors in 2021-22. Each, however, also loses key starters to graduation.

“We will have some top players back and I’m excited about some young players that will be moving up and playing more on varsity, as well,” Washington-Liberty boys coach Bobby Dobson said. “We can be a top team again.”

Returning starters for W-L will be shooting guard James McIntyre, forward Brian Weiser and center Elijah Hughes. All three will be seniors. McIntyre and Weiser were chosen first-team all-region this past season, with Hughes making second team.

Also expected back will be three-point shooting specialist Cedric Scheu and point guard Matthew Evangelista. Scheu hit some clutch three-pointers in Washington-Liberty’s region-tournament semifinal comeback victory over the Madison Warhawks, earning the Generals a state-tournament berth.

Some players from W-L’s nine-win junior varsity and freshman teams could be added to the varsity roster.

Two of the top returners for the Yorktown girls are expected to be guards Taylor Chase and Olivia Stafford. Each were chosen second-team all-district this past season. Sofia Tran, Asha Goodwin, Megan Smythers and Ana Gonzalez will be among other returns.

Yorktown had a strong junior varsity team that finished 15-4, lost only two district games and won its final eight contests.

* A girls team to watch out for next season could be Washington-Liberty. The Generals varsity squad won just three games this past season, but the team was much more competitive as the season progressed.

Plus, the W-L junior varsity girls team finished 15-2 and did not lose to a public-school opponent.

Varsity players expected back are Nour and Malek Ben Hammouda and Harriet and Frances Shapiro.

* The Wakefield Warriors on the boys side will be a team looking to improve next season, after having a winning 11-10 record this past season and earning a region berth.

Wakefield expects to return top players like Kobe Davis, Horace Willis Jr., Seth Langford, Ricardo Snyder and Jose Fudd.

The Wakefield boys have not had a losing season since the 2010-11 campaign.

* The Yorktown Patriots won just five games in boys action, but lost muliple close contests. Yorktown will have a number of returners and could get contributions from a freshman team that finished 16-2.

* The Bishop O’Connell Knights finished 18-13 this past boys season and will lose four starters to graduation. Underclassmen who played a lot for the Knights this past winter were Machi Chester, Del Jones, Jadyn Harris, Isaiah Shaw, Jake Williams, Shane Lincoln and Samson Oguande.

Those players helped O’Connell win the long-standing holiday Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach and placed third in another national competition.

“We like our returners and are very excited about some of the new players we will have coming in,” O’Connell coach Joe Wootten said.

* The Bishop O’Connell girls will have a new head coach next season, as Aggie McCormick-Dix stepped down after 11 seasons and nearly 240 wins and her team’s multiple runner-up finishes in the Division I private-school state tournament.

Looking ahead, time will tell how each of those Arlington teams develop next season and whether any will contend for tournament championships.

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