Returning to full

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Central High School’s varsity boys basketball team is 0-7 after completing the 2017 portion of its regular season schedule, but noteworthy factors have played a role in the winless start which reveal the Chargers as a team that may be poised to rebound.

“Last three games, injuries and sickness have hit us, so we’re playing shorthanded,” Central Head Coach Mike McGrath said. “I actually had to start a JV kid in one of those games. So, anyway, we should be back to full health coming up.”

Senior point guard L.J. Watson has been out for three-and-a-half games with a severely sprained wrist. During the last three games, senior forward Ben Spencer was out due to illness and senior center Ethan Hoover was out due to family obligations.

This left Central without its top two rebounders and its main ball handler.

McGrath said Hoover has been averaging 16 rebounds a game, while Spencer has been averaging eight.

In the four games he has played, Watson has averaged about 17 points, three assists and three to four steals.

“With him being out, Darryl Jones picked up a lot of minutes and points,” McGrath said, noting Jones is probably the Chargers’ leading scorer.

Jones, a senior guard, scored 34 points in a 79-68 loss to host Bluestone High School on Dec. 15, and he scored 26 points in a 78-42 tournament loss to host Altavista Combined School on Dec. 22.

Moving forward with a healthy lineup, “we’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the ball,” McGrath said. “(In) three close games, turnovers were a big factor. So, if we can start taking care of the ball better, I think we’re going to string some wins together.”

Central hosts Prince Edward County High School (3-6) on Wednesday at 7 p.m.