Sharp-eyed shooter


After winning less than a third of its games last year, Forest Park’s boys basketball team heads into Christmas break with a 3-2 record. That doesn’t satisfy sophomore point guard Kenny Carter.

“We should be 5-0,” he said prior to a Bruins’ practice this week. “The first time we played Massaponax, we came out too excited; we turned the ball over and missed our free throws. The second time we played them, we missed our free throws again.

“We shoot free throws for 20 minutes at the end of every practice, but we didn’t make them in those games.”

A sophomore with an eye toward the fundamentals, Carter has made 80.5 percent of his foul shots this season (33 of 41). The rest of the team has made just 41.8 percent (41 of 98). Carter doesn’t just lead the team at the foul line; he’s the club’s top scorer (16.0 a game), rebounder (7.0) and assist provider (2.8).

“He has really grown up from last year to this year,” Forest Park coach Brion Dunlap said. “He’s scoring more and he’s also more of a leader. We’re trying to get him to be even more vocal as our point guard, but he has done well.”

This year’s Bruins have wins over Culpeper, Stonewall and Osbourn. Their next game is Friday at home against Bishop McNamara, with a tournament at Shepherd College (W. Va.) planned for Dec. 27-28.

Dunlap said the 6-foot-1, 160-pound Carter, because of his shooting accuracy (43.1 percent from the floor, including 3 of 8 from 3-point range), may be best suited to play shooting guard, but Forest Park needs him most at the point. That’s fine with Carter. “I have to say that point guard is where I’m more comfortable because I’ve played it since middle school,” the 15-year-old Carter said. “I’m just now learning how to take my time more down the stretch, how not to get too excited and to not make too many bad decisions.”

Even with the loss of top scorer Davon Deans, a forward who transferred to National Christian Academy (Md.), Forest Park has hopes of improving on last year’s 2-12 mark in the competitive Cardinal District. The Bruins went 7-15 overall, while playing with three freshmen all year (and a fourth for much of the season). That class of current sophomores includes Carter, outside threat Aaron Meachem, Marcus Taylor and D’Juan Tucker.

“It feels a lot better than last year because we were in the first year of the school,” said Carter, whose brother Anthony played two years of football at Hylton. “We didn’t want to use that as an excuse, but this year we know more about the other teams. We know what they’ll do and how we can run our stuff.”

Though his brother played high school football, Kenny Carter has stuck to basketball. He practices year-round, and much of his improvement may be owed to the camp and practice time he accrued while visiting his cousin in Texas last summer. When he returned to Prince William County, Carter began to hit the weight room at Forest Park with more regularity.

As a freshman, Carter averaged 7.4 points a game and scored a season-high 17 in the regular-season finale against Stonewall Jackson. He was one of the area’s best first-year high schoolers, but he has been even better at the end of 2001. “For the time being, we’re happy with where he is [at point guard] and how far he has come,” Dunlap said. “He can score and he can shoot the basketball.”

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