His team is only 2-3, but Burke basketball coach Deon Richardson expects big things from his Bulldogs by the time the Class AA playoffs commence in February.
Burke High School
Fort Dorchester vs. Estill, 4 p.m.
Baptist Hill vs. Timberland, 5:30 p.m.
Beaufort vs. Manning, 7 p.m.
Burke vs. Bethune-Bowman, 8:30 p.m.
Modie Risher Classic
"The sky's the limit," the second-year coach said. "I don't see why we can't win the region."
The Bulldogs, who compete in Region 6-AA, host the 36th annual Modie Risher Classic, which tips off Thursday and concludes Friday with the championship game. This year's field includes Estill, Timberland, Fort Dorchester, Beaufort, Baptist Hill, Manning, Bethune-Bowman and the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs get a chance to even their record at .500 when they play Bethune-Bowman at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, the final game of the first day of action.
The Bulldogs went 10-15 last season in Richardson's first year and experienced growing pains after having a great four-year run from 2008-11.
Last season also marked a rarity for the program. The Bulldogs failed to qualify for the playoffs after posting a 4-10 record in region play. It was a far cry from the past when the Bulldogs had a stretch in which they posted a 100-15 record and played in three state championships in four years.
One of the stars during the Bulldogs' glory days was Sidney Sanders, who is now making an impact as a member of the Farleigh Dickinson University team. His younger brother, Adonicas, is one of two freshmen guards in the starting lineup. The other freshman is Sidney Robinson.
Robinson is the point guard and Sanders is the shooting guard. Robinson is averaging 10 points and four assists, while the 6-foot Sanders is averaging eight points and five rebounds per game.
"They are getting better every day, as is the team,"Richardson said. "They key right now is to develop consistency."
The rest of the starting lineup includes senior Ishmael Evans, freshman Stephon Taylor and senior Deonte Washington.
The team is 1-1 in Region 6-AA play with a 78-69 victory over Garrett Tech and a 64-55 loss to Ridgeland-Hardeeville. One of the non-conference losses was a 53-38 decision to Beaufort on Dec. 5. The Eagles are in the Modie Risher Classic and play Manning in the first round. They defeated Burke last year to claim third place. South Pointe won the tourney with a victory over Fort Dorchester.