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Dardenelle Sand LizardsPublished October 27, 2013 at 5:00 a.m.
Coach: Russell Sturdivant, third year at school, 27-24 at school
Assistant coach: Jared White
2012-13 record: 12-13, fifth in the 4A-4 Conference. The Sand Lizards were one spot away from qualifying for the Class 4A North Regional.
Returning starters: Will Lawrence, 6-2 senior forward, 9 points per game; returning all-conference player; and Austin Steen, 6-0 senior guard, 4 ppg. “These two players are our most experienced and will need to make their teammates better when they are on the floor,” Sturdivant said.
Best inside players: Makenna Spears, 6-5 senior center; Luis Depaz, 6-0 junior center; and Chaz Crowe, 6-1 junior forward. Spears played limited minutes last year, and the coach said he would need to be a scorer for the Lizards in the paint this season. Depaz is an “extremely hard worker,” Sturdivant said. “He is a great energy guy and offensive rebounder.” The coach said Crowe would be “our flex guy this season. One of his biggest attributes is his ability to play post or guard.”
Best outside players: Montarious Grimes, a 5-8 senior guard, started several games last season and is the best defender on the team, but Sturdivant said he would have to be more of an offensive threat this season. Logan Broyles, a 5-8 senior guard, got good minutes late last season. “He is one of our energy guys and one of our best scorers off the dribble,” the coach said. Jorge Carranza, a 5-8 junior guard, is probably the Lizards’ most explosive scorer and shooter. “If he can play at a high level consistently, he makes us a lot more dangerous offensively,” Sturdivant said. Sophomore guards J.P. Metcalf and Chris Kershner have a chance to play varsity minutes immediately. “They both bring something different to the table,” Sturdivant said. “J.P. is one of our best facilitators, and Chris is one of our best finishers.”
How will you match/exceed/fall short of your success from last year?: The Lizards’ goal is to make the regional tournament. “We always talk about if you make the regional tournament, who knows what can happen,” Sturdivant said. “As a team, we will have to be mentally tougher than we were last season.”
Team strengths: Quickness and depth
Team weaknesses: The Lizards lack size, and with that can come difficulty rebounding.
Games to watch: Pottsville, the defending state champion, will visit Dardanelle on Jan. 14.
Toughest opponent: Maumelle, Subiaco Academy and Pottsville. “They all have explosive guard play,” Sturdivant said.
College prospects: None at this time.
In a nutshell: Sturdivant said his Lizards will be undersized in almost every game this season. Rebounding and toughness will be the difference if the Sand Lizards are able to reach their goals, he said.