BRIENSBURG – Christian Fellowship School, absent from high school basketball competition for some half-decade, fields its second boys’ team since the program was revived last year.
Last year’s edition of the Eagles won two of 21 games for coach Billy Hodge. That was the first season since the 2004-2005 season.
A girls’ junior varsity team will compete this year. The Lady Eagles have not competed at varsity level since 2005-2006.
Hodge lost three seniors, two of them starters, from last year’s team.
“We have several players coming back,” he said.
Among them is 6-2 junior center Eric Teodozow, who averaged 8.6 points per game last year, second only to Dalton Groves’ 9.0. Groves was one of the two senior starters on last year’s squad, along with John Locke, who scored at a 5.6 clip.
Also returning is 5-7 junior guard Joe Paul Dean, last year’s third-leading scorer at 5.7 ppg.
Other juniors include Isaac Gipson, a 5-9 guard who transferred from Paducah Tilghman.
“We have some freshmen who played together last year, and some of them have grown up,” Hodge said.
Two of them are on the varsity roster. Matthew Lewis measures 6-2 and John Robert Ward is 5-10.
The only senior on this year’s team is Joel Kim, who did not play last season.
A quartet of sophomores rounds out the roster. The most experienced is 6-1 guard-forward Josh Choate, who saw action in all 21 games last year as a freshman and averaged 3.9 ppg. Others are Trevor Pruitt, a transfer from Indianapolis, along with Sam Dean, who played in 11 varsity games last year, and first-year varsity player Drew English.
Like Kim, incoming transfers Gipson and Pruitt did not play organized basketball last year.
“All three basically played a lot of street ball,” Hodge said. “We see that in them. We’re not playing together real well as a team” in early practice sessions.
“They’re starting to figure it out,” Hodge said. “We’re trying to get the new kids to understand certain sets. Their mentality is still, ‘I’ve got the ball, I’m taking it to the basket.’
“We’re trying to get them to execute the offense to get the shot you’re looking for and not just any shot,” he said.
“Talent is less of an issue” than inexperience in playing an organized game, he said. “I’ve got eight young men who are equally talented.”
A junior on the JV squad who may get an early promotion to varsity level is 6-4 Charlie Powell.
“For our [enrollment], we’ve got decent height,” Hodge said, especially if Powell and the freshman Lewis develop quickly.