Quality teams fill Shepherd tourney

Bowie State just lost a 76-72 exhibition game to generally troublesome-to-its-opponents George Mason.

East Stroudsburg was the 2012 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference tournament champion.

Alderson-Broaddus was 18-10 last season and has been toward the top of the WVIAC standings for the past dozen seasons.

Shepherd comes into its own tip-off tournament this weekend with all five starters returning from its 2011-12 team.

That’s four teams with more than bluff, more than pre-season chatter.

The annual tournament-beginning to Shepherd’s mens basketball seasons comes up this Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Butcher Center where East Stroudsburg faces Alderson-Broaddus at 5 p.m. and then Shepherd plays Bowie State at 7 p.m.

Shepherd was 14-14 overall last season. Four of its starters from that team — Chad Moore, Brantley Osborne, Sidney McCray, and Marcus Pilgrim — are back to help send the Rams out of the dissolving WVIAC with what they hope will be a banner season.

Not only does Coach Justin Namolik have a full list of returning starters, he can pluck off his bench ready reserves from last season — Malik Dauda, Aeron Spencer, and Kirk Hairston — and get three more players who were part-time starters.

Morgan McDonald was injured and missed the season a year ago, but the 6-foot-6 sophomore forward was a much-used reserve in 2011. Diminutive Stefan Pearson plays at least few minutes in every game.

Chauncey Burgazli, a 6-foot-10 freshman center last year, did not come back for at least a second season.

The foursome of first-year players joining that experienced group are 6-foot-6 Kevin Jones, 6-foot-2 Austin Cunningham, 6-foot-5 Logan Holloman, and 6-foot-2 Rob Lawler from Handley High in Winchester.

Moore is a pre-season All-America selection. Osborne is a polished scorer and a reliable in-game manager. McCray often scores well from the perimeter. Pilgrim and Spencer were Shepherd’s starting guards.

East Stroudsburg went 20-12 last season and landed in the Regional tournament after winning the PSAC tournament. Its best players are 6-foot-6 Terrance King and 6-foot-7 Duane Johnson, both seniors.

Bowie State lost a recent exhibition game at George Mason by four points to the Atlantic 10 team.

Byron Westmoreland, a 6-foot-4 guard, scored 30 points against the Patriots. Two forwards from Hagerstown Community College — 6-foot-8 Najee White and 6-foot-7 Dameatric Scott — are likely starters for the optimistic Bulldogs of the CIAA.

Alderson-Broaddus went 18-10 last season, one of the few times a Greg Zimmerman-coached team hasn’t gotten at least 20 wins in his last dozen years in Philippi.

The Battlers return 6-foot-3 Kurklin Bohanon, who scored 19 points a game, as well as 6-foot-2 Casey Ainslie and 6-foot-7 O’Dell Eargle.

The two-day tip-off event continues on Sunday afternoon when Bowie State plays Alderson-Broaddus at 4 p.m. and then the Rams play East Stroudsburg at about 6 p.m.

This is an excellent four-team field with Bowie State one of the pre-season favorites in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and East Stroudsburg the favorite in the East Division of the PSAC.

Alderson-Broaddus and Shepherd don’t have the early-season presence that WVIAC power West Liberty has. But both could provide their fans with winning seasons as the WVIAC finishes its run that began in 1924 and will be no more after the conference tournament early next year.

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