Owls launch their search for missing pieces

December 07, 1993|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

The 1993 season appears to have all the makings of a rebuilding season for the Westminster Owls, but then 6-8 senior center Russell DeMont grabs a rebound and slams it back home for two.

DeMont showed the ability to dominate at times for the county champion Owls last season. But he was just one piece of the puzzle in a lineup that featured Player of the Year forward Todd Dorsey and first-team all-county point guard Matt Brightful.

With them and six other key contributors lost to graduation, it's DeMont who gets the chance to take center stage this season.

"He should feel very good about the situation he's in this year. He has all the tools and we're going to showcase his abilities," said Westminster coach Dave Byers.

"The past two years he kind of sat in the back of the bus. Last year's team belonged to those seniors and he just went for the ride. This year, it's his bus and he's driving."

The only other time Byers recalls being in a similar situation in which the Owls only returned one starter was the 1987-88 season when senior point guard Terry McDonald was the lone returnee.

The big difference was McDonald ran the show and carried the Owls through December until the younger players got adjusted to the varsity level. DeMont, who averaged 10 points and six-plus rebounds last year, must rely on his teammates to get him the ball.

"He's our only proven player at the varsity level. We think he's capable of stepping up and being a dominant inside player, but it depends on what the others can do for him. They have to be able to get him the ball," Byers said.

"I don't know what the others are capable of doing at the varsity level and neither do they. We just have to wait until the whistle blows. No one has established too much, but it's awful early."

Returning after seeing limited varsity action last season is 6-0 senior guard John Morningstar, 6-1 senior guard Charles Van Horn and 6-4 senior forward Chris High.

Byers said Morningstar has the inside track on the starting point guard spot with the experience he brings and Van Horn has plenty of offensive tools. High and junior newcomers Mat Mathais (6-5) and Mark Loscomb will join DeMont up front.

Junior Steve Mays adds quickness to the backcourt and fellow junior Derrick Brightful likely will see time at small forward for the Owls.

"There's a lot of playing time for whoever wants it," Byers said.

"It's been very competitive in practice and they're working hard at it. They'll eventually weed themselves out as some step up."

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