Virginia-bound defensive lineman Keenan Carter has decided not to play basketball in his senior season. An all-area football player, he was an anchor in Potomac’s run to a regional final this fall. So were Gary Price (all-area quarterback and defensive back) and Anthony Blackwell (all-area tight end). They will be on hand in the top-ranked Panthers’ backcourt for Friday’s game at No. 5 Hylton.
“Keenan’s not playing, he decided about a week ago,” Potomac coach Kendall Hayes said. “My humble opinion is that I think both can be accomplished with a little planning, but that’s all I have to say on that matter.”
Carter said Wednesday night that he wished he could play this winter, but that he wants to focus on academics and his SAT preparatory class. “I had a long talk with my mom and we decided not playing basketball was the best thing,” Carter said, “because I’ve got to think about my future, and my future’s not going to be in the NBA.”
Meanwhile, Hylton’s lineup will include Ahmad Brooks, the nation’s defensive football player of the year by Prep Football Report. The sought-after linebacker is in the middle of taking his official visits to colleges, but he’s on the court, too. He took a week off from practice because of an ankle injury, but scored a game-high 17 points in the Bulldogs’ opener at Brooke Point on Tuesday night.
“He played well, he’s very strong. Their whole team can be categorized that way,” Hayes said. “The kids they put on the floor have a lot of muscle and toughness.”
Hylton’s basketball team also includes football players Jerome Quinata and Endor Cooper, two heavy hitters from a defense that led the Bulldogs to the Group AAA, Division 6 state semifinals.
POINT GUARD IN WAITING
It was a tough assignment for a freshman. But Gar-Field guard Sarah Malene made the most of her first varsity start Tuesday night.
Asked to play the point position against a North Stafford team that is seeking to reach the Northwest Region tournament, Malene did much more than simply hold her own. She hit a pair of first-quarter field goals to spark a 20-4 scoring run and finished the night with a career-high 10 points in Gar-Field’s 47-43 loss.
“I was very happy with what Sarah did. We’re going to live with the mistakes she makes now,” Gar-Field coach Larry Baker said.
Malene started in place of injured junior guard Shannon Massie, who suffered a concussion in Friday’s loss at Osbourn Park and is expected to be out of the lineup until next week. After scoring seven points against the Yellow Jackets in her first significant stretch of playing time, Malene was on the floor virtually the entire night on Tuesday.
She hit a running baseline jumper at the first-quarter buzzer to give the Indians their first lead of the night and handled the ball with surprising poise against North Stafford’s pressure defense.
“She was put in a tough situation, but she’s another Kelly [Brown]. She gives you her heart,” Baker said.
AROUND THE AREA
The top four teams in the latest Potomac News & Journal Messenger girls basketball top five are all undefeated, but the boys teams have not started as quickly. Potomac lost to Halifax County last weekend; Woodbridge has two tough out-of-state losses; Gar-Field lost its home opener to Potomac; Brooke Point has a loss to Osbourn; and Hylton got a late start to its season by falling at Brooke Point on Tuesday night. … Evangel senior guard/forward Bryan Williams had the area’s top reported single-game scoring output of the season last Friday when he scored 40 points in a 77-59 loss to Heritage.
Staff writer Dave Utnik contributed to this report.