Trojans open with win on the road; 1st home game is Tuesday

CRISFIELD — After sitting all but four minutes of the first half because of early foul trouble, JySir Valentine put up the first six points out of the break to help the Trojans score a 54-48 come-from-behind victory at Crisfield on Dec. 5.

Valentine, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound forward, led the Trojans with 18 points and 10-plus rebounds and was their biggest inside presence in the season opener.

Combo guard Larry Steward, one of five seniors on the modest 10-man roster, scored 13 points and freshman Dwan Harris added nine.

Landon Wallace turned in an all-around solid effort that included seven points in his first-ever high school basketball game. Wallace’s 3-pointer off the glass in the fourth quarter broke a 36-36 tie and gave the Trojans a lead they would not lose the rest of the way.

Sobaye Scott, now in his 12th year as head coach at alma mater KCHS, said the opener was pretty much what he expected considering there are six newcomers.

The first-timers brought energy but also made some mistakes, experiencing what Scott termed “shock and awe” as they make the big leap from youth league basketball.

After trading baskets in the early minutes, the host Crabbers took advantage of Valentine on the bench to pull out in front by the end of the first quarter, 17-5.

Valentine was back out in the starting rotation for the second half, with an adjustment to the game plan — softening up the middle, putting Valentine high on the post, and playing inside and out.

Valentine finished with four fouls, and scored all of his 18 points in the second half.

His eight points in the third quarter, including 6-of-7 from the free-throw line, helped the Trojans deadlock at 32-all.

Kent County returns the two juniors and two sophomores who were on last year’s 8-14 varsity squad: now seniors Steward and Mehki Rogers (forward) and now juniors Valentine and reigning team MVP Jonah Somerville (point guard).

Kent County graduate Buck Kennard also is back for a 12th year as Scott’s assistant.

New to KCHS basketball are seniors Wallace (guard), Troy Bennett (6-foot-1 combo guard) and Nasir Black (6-foot-2 power forward); junior Karon Houston (guard), a transfer from Queen Anne’s; and freshman combo guards Dwan Harris (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) and Jayden Miller (6-foot-2). 

Scott said after the winter holiday break, he probably would call up a player or two from the junior varsity roster.

In the Dec. 5 opener at Crisfield, the Trojans sent out a starting five of Somerville, Wallace, Harris, Steward and Valentine.

All nine who made the trip played, and scoring was distributed among six players.

Scott said Kent County’s biggest asset this season is the big, strong inside presence of Valentine, Steward, Bennett, Harris and Black.

In previous years, Kent was known more for its depth at the guard positions.

“We’ve got an unorthodox skills set,” Scott told The Evening Enterprise in a telephone interview Sunday afternoon, Dec. 10. 

When asked to elaborate, he said his players are coming from different basketball experiences — someone who has played only on the playground; someone who hasn’t played since their parks and rec youth days but still has game; and someone like Wallace who is naturally athletic and learns quickly.

After opening with consecutive games on the road, Kent County will play at home for the first time Tuesday, Dec. 12 against Cambridge. The junior varsity game tips off at 4 p.m., with the varsity game to follow at about 5:30 p.m.


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