Dabney Men’s Basketball Completes Strong First Season

Dabney Men’s Basketball Completes Strong First Season

MEMBERS OF the 2019-20 Dabney S. Lancaster men’s basketball team, who completed their inaugural season last month, are (seated, from left) K-Knowledge Rawlings, Cartier Key, Koty Baker, Austin Lefler, Dayshawn Hamilton, Jaylon Hudson, Isaiah Roman, (standing) Deondre Dabney, Quinton Hunter, Ty Brown, assistant coaches Kelly Decker and Paul Pelter, head coach Brandon Garrett, assistant coaches Stephen Peters and Will McCurdy, Tre McCrary, Anthony Darcus and Shama Baggott. (Judy Clark photo)

Dabney Men’s Basketball Completes Strong First Season

DABNEY S. LANCASTER head coach Brandon Garrett (far left) talks to his players during a timeout at a home game. The Roadrunners went 14-10 in their first season. (photo courtesy of Brandon Garrett)

School To Add Women’s Team Next Season

The inaugural men’s basketball season at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College was a successful one. The Roadrunners, the first official team in Dabney’s history, finished with a record of 14-10.

Dabney’s head coach is Brandon Garrett, a 1995 Parry McCluer High School graduate and a 2004 Ferrum College graduate who played basketball at both schools, going to Camden Military Academy in South Carolina in between. Reflecting on the first season at Dabney, Garrett said, “I think it was fairly successful when you factor in everything, bringing in new kids. It took us a little while to find our footing. I’m pretty pleased with the way things went.”

Dabney’s athletic director, Carl “Shorty” Wolfe III, who began working with Garrett to get the team together in February of last year, said that recruiting that late is hard to do, but he’s pleased with how the season went. “It went really well,” he said. “We played some nationally ranked teams and held our own for a while.

“There were some speed bumps we encountered along the way, but from an administrative standpoint, there was nothing too difficult we couldn’t overcome,” Wolfe added. “I believe, for a first-year program, everyone did a fantastic job.”

One of the highlights of the season was an 87-77 win at Ferrum College on Jan. 14. “We played a complete game,” Garrett said.

“I think overall we slowly but surely started to become a team,” he added. “Our players started to bond. We were having fun and building relationships, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Wolfe said the main appeal of playing at Dabney is that it’s an affordable option for students over the alternative of playing Division III basketball and sitting on the bench.

Joining Garrett, who coached for Nelson County High School for 10 years and is now the assistant principal, were five assistant coaches who all brought experience and knowledge to Dabney. Paul Pelter and Kelly Decker, who were both assistant coaches at Rockbridge County High School before coaching at Dabney, both helped Garrett coach at Nelson County. Will McCurdy, an RC alum, was an assistant coach and bookkeeper for the Wildcats last year. Also serving as an assistant coach was Stephen Peters, who played for Garrett in high school before coaching at Nelson County with him. Garrett said having coaches that had worked together was a big help.

The players came from various high schools in Virginia, with two from Tennessee, and some had experience at the Division II or III level. One name that many locals will recognize is Koty Baker, a 2018 PM graduate who played his freshman year at Division III school McDaniel College in Westminster, Md.

Shawn Spinner, who played a year for RC before graduating from Alleghany High School, played most of the season for Dabney before stopping to focus on academics. “He was pretty solid for us,” Garrett said.

Garrett said some of the Roadrunners players for the 2019-20 season are hoping to play at Division II and III schools. “We’re actively recruiting now, but we’re going to sit down with our guys to see where they’re at,” Garrett said.

The coach added that the players are at Dabney for various reasons: academics, lack of exposure and finances.

Dabney had a mixture of home and road games, and they defeated the club teams from Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute. Garrett said fan support for the Roadrunners was strong early in the season. With a few high school teams playing in the area, he said some nights were better than others.

Building on the success of the men’s team, Dabney will start a women’s team for the 2020-21 season, with Wolfe as the head coach.

“I am excited to get this women’s program up and running,” Wolfe said. “It’s going to be something special for our surrounding area. I’ve already received calls from NCAA Division I programs looking to create a connection for future Roadrunner graduates to continue playing at the next level. That’s exciting for players who may have been overlooked in high school or players who need that extra time to develop their skills.”

For information about becoming a sponsor for the 2020-21 season, contact Rachael Thompson, executive director of the DSLCC Educational Foundation, at rthompson@ dslcc.edu or (540) 863-2934. For information about DSLCC athletics, contact Wolfe at cwolfe@dslcc.edu.

The News-Gazette

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