Bears look for break to return to playoffs Speed is focus after 8-14 mark BOYS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW Hammond

December 04, 1992|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

Streaks of six straight playoff appearances and five straight second-place league finishes ended with a disappointing 8-14 season last year for Hammond's boys basketball team.

The Bears stumbled to a 1-6 start and never recovered. Their 6-8 league record earned them a tie for fifth place.

Coach Jack Burke promises an entire new look for Hammond this season -- one that will feature four quick, sharp-shooting guards.

In the past, three-point shots for most players were a taboo at Hammond, which usually had the muscle to play a rugged inside game. Not this year.

"We'll actually be screening for three-pointers," Burke said.

Kris Jefferson is the best-known among seven returning players. The senior point guard averaged 11.5 points and 5.5 rebounds. He has a quick first step and is a good one-on-one player.

Mike Mathews, a 6-0 sophomore returnee, will start at shooting guard.

"He's added some muscle during the off-season and so far has been a dominant player for us," Burke said.

Another returning player who will start is 6-2 senior forward Sean Drinan, who jumps well and can shoot.

Newcomer James Fehrman, a 6-5 junior, is Hammond's most active post player and a good leaper. He'll also start.

The fifth starter will be freshman Irving Conwell, a 6-1 forward.

"He's a future star," Burke said. "He lacks upper-body strength ,, right now, but has all the offensive skills -- can shoot, go to the hole, rebound and he's knowledgeable."

Conwell led the Potomac Junior Varsity Summer League in scoring last summer, as Hammond's team hammered out a 14-2 record, losing only to Rockville in the regular season and to DeMatha in the championship game.

Hammond has good depth. Senior guard Kelvin Stevens is a quick, strong defensive player and a good one-on-one player.

Senior guard Cinque Crutchfield improved his shooting at the Buzz Braman summer camp.

Claude Moore is a 6-7 senior center who can shoot and is a good shot-blocker.

Toby Anderson is a 6-1 senior who is an aggressive defensive specialist.

Jason Myatt is a 6-2 senior who can hit from the 12-foot range and gives the Bears some muscle.

Forward Kevin McPherson has the team's best vertical leap, but missed last season with a football injury.

Aaron Smith is a 6-2 sophomore shooting guard who won't be academically eligible to play until Dec. 11.

Charles Chapman, a 6-1 junior, has good post-up skills and athletic ability, but lacks experience.

L And Tucker Peterson is a 6-1 junior forward who shoots well.

"Expect to see us in a lot of high-scoring games," Burke said. "There won't be any of these 46-44 deals because we'll be running and playing pressure defense."

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