By Dillon Jones, Sports Writer

Keenan’s boys’ basketball team fell just three points short of its goal last year. Five seniors graduated from the team, leaving holes to be filled for the 2017-2018 team. Players and coaches are ready to see what this year’s team will do and achieve.

“I’m ready for the first game,” Sophomore Raekwon Horton said. “I’m ready to start the journey that will get us back to state and this time win.”

Having to step up on this year’s team, Horton feels like he’s ready.

“I just have to play my role, everything else will take care of itself,” he said.

In order to prepare for the role he’ll take on this year, Horton said he’s been focusing on his conditioning and getting stronger.

“I want to be more aggressive on offense this year than I was last year, and have a ‘motor’ on defense,” he said.

Head Coach Zach Norris is excited to lead this young group this year.

“We have to grow up, but when everybody buys in, we’ll be just fine,” he said.

This year Norris will have a younger team than normal. With Ervin Stone being the only senior who’s expected to contribute heavily this year, Norris will have to rely on Juniors Q’dardruis Sanders and Latrell Taylor, as well as Sophomores Dillon Jones and Horton.

“The Chick-Fil-A Classic, Bojangles Bash, Holiday on the Harwood and MLK Bash will be opportunities for them to prove themselves, step up and get exposure while doing it,” Norris said.

Keenan’s girls’ basketball team will be led this year by Senior Logan Taylor-McDaniel. The three-year varsity starter is ready to get her senior campaign underway.

“I’m just ready for the first game since it’s my last first game,” she said.

This year Taylor-McDaniel wants the team to work hard and never give up. She also said she wants to stay positive when they run into troubles and to become a better leader on and off the court.

“I feel like I’m good at a lot of things except being a leader,” she said. “This year I definitely want to improve on that and be able to say I’m a better leader than I was last year.”

Head Coach Reggie McClain is excited about the upcoming season. Last year they took a hard loss in the playoffs to Christ Church School. McClain is ready to build off of last year’s success.

“Lower Richland and A.C. Flora will be some tough early games to prepare us for teams we will face in the playoffs like Christ Church,” he said.

This year McClain wants to capture the region championship, then make a run at the state championship. With Taylor-McDaniel and Senior JaDiamond Hickman running the show, the Lady Raiders definitely will have a shot.