Looking back a few days, the Washington-Liberty Generals on the boys’ side and the Yorktown Patriots on the girls’ side were the big successes of the 2021-22 local high school basketball season in Arlington.
Each team won the Liberty District regular season and tournament championships with only one league loss each. The WL Boys (18-8) then finished second in the 6D North Region tournament and qualified for the Class 6 State Tournament.
After winning a district tournament for the first time in program history, the Yorktown girls (20-5) fell in the semifinals of the regional tournament. Despite the loss, the season was considered the best in Patriots history.
Looking ahead to next season, will both teams be able to repeat these successes again, or will there be more to emerge?
Next season is a long way off, but in short, the WL boys and Yorktown girls should be able to have strong squads again, based on returning players who were top contributors in 2021-22 . However, each also loses key starters for graduation.
“We’ll have some great players back and I’m excited for some young players who will progress and play more in college as well,” Washington-Liberty boys coach Bobby Dobson said. “We can become a top team again.”
Returning starters for WL will be shooting guard James McIntyre, forward Brian Weiser and center Elijah Hughes. All three will be seniors. McIntyre and Weiser were selected to the all-regions first team last season, with Hughes making the second team.
Three-point shooting specialist Cedric Scheu and point guard Matthew Evangelista are also expected. Scheu hit a few clutch three-pointers in the Washington-Liberty Regional Tournament semifinal against the Madison Warhawks, earning the Generals a berth in the state tournament.
Some players from WL’s nine-win freshman and junior varsity teams could be added to the varsity roster.
Two of the best returning players for the Yorktown girls would have to be guards Taylor Chase and Olivia Stafford. Each was selected to the second team of all districts last season. Sofia Tran, Asha Goodwin, Megan Smythers and Ana Gonzalez will be back, among others.
Yorktown had a strong junior varsity team that finished 15-4, lost just two district games, and won its last eight contests.
* A women’s team to watch for next season could be Washington-Liberty. The Generals varsity team won just three games last season, but the team was much more competitive as the season progressed.
Additionally, the WL junior varsity women’s team finished 15-2 and did not lose to a public school opponent.
The expected college players are Nour and Malek Ben Hammouda and Harriet and Frances Shapiro.
* The Wakefield Warriors on the boys’ side will be a team looking to improve next season, having gone 11-10 winning last season and securing a place in the region.
Wakefield expects top players to return like Kobe Davis, Horace Willis Jr., Seth Langford, Ricardo Snyder and Jose Fudd.
The Wakefield boys haven’t had a losing season since the 2010-11 campaign.
* The Yorktown Patriots have won just five games in the boys but lost several close games. Yorktown will have a number of comebacks and could get some contributions from a freshman team that finished 16-2.
* The Bishop O’Connell Knights finished 18-13 this past season on the boys’ side and will lose four starters until graduation. Underclassmen who played a lot for the Knights last winter were Machi Chester, Del Jones, Jadyn Harris, Isaiah Shaw, Jake Williams, Shane Lincoln and Samson Oguande.
These players helped O’Connell win the long-running holiday Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach and placed third in another national competition.
“We love our comebacks and are very excited about some of the new players we will have,” O’Connell coach Joe Wootten said.
* The Bishop O’Connell girls will have a new head coach next season, as Aggie McCormick-Dix has stepped down after 11 seasons and nearly 240 wins and her team’s multiple runners-up in the schools state tournament deprived of Division I.
Looking ahead, time will tell how each of these Arlington teams develop next season and whether any will challenge for tournament championships.