Knights finding their way on the hardwood

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

Knights
Members of the boys basketball team at Halifax Academy are shown after winning a recent Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday tournament.

Once again, the Halifax Academy Knights boys’ basketball team is putting together another impressive season under the radar.

For those who don’t know about Halifax, the small private school is located at 275 N. Williamson Blvd. in Daytona Beach. There are 73 high school students enrolled at the school.

Thee Knights are 18-6 overall, including 6-2 in district 2A-3 play. They have won 11 of their past 12 games, which included an 11-game win streak before falling to Class 9A Orange City University on Monday. Still, the team seems to be hitting its stride.

“We’ve had our ups and downs throughout the season, but it seems like we are starting to find ourselves, which will hopefully put us in position to make the playoffs,” said Head Coach Shamus Dougherty.

Key players

The Knights are led by senior point guard Terrell Franklin.

“It’s just how it stacks up. I just go do what I got to do to help the team win – whether scoring or passing or defending. I also try to set the other guys up. It is a harder thing to do,” said Franklin.

Senior guards Dominiq Northington, forward Michael Highsmith and guard Chauncey Williams along with junior forward Marquez Knighton are also key components for Halifax.

“Our situation is basically the same team as it was last year. We do have a few different players, but we basically have the same people. We are like a family and we enjoy playing together,” stated Northington.

Promising freshmen

The Knights have promising youngsters in freshmen guard Jarrett Reddin and forward A.J. Maddox along with sophomores guard/forward Devonte Lindsey and forward, Messiah Hobbs.

Dougherty added, “They are showing a lot of promise. If they step up over the next couple of weeks, it could really help us. They are slowly getting better. If one or two just step up, it would be a big help during district tournament time.”

There are things that are working for the Knights.

“The guys are finding themselves and learning to play together. They are helping the team win now instead of worrying about individual stats. They have really come together after Christmas. They are finding where they can best help the team,” explained Dougherty.

Football focus too

The Knights have also dealt with several challenges.

Dougherty admitted, “Our biggest challenge is that all but two of our main players are football players. We struggled early in the season due to that because our guys couldn’t do a summer program together. We had to wait to get everyone together. We had to find a way to get our football players into basketball.”

The players also see this team’s potential and how it is different from previous squads in recent years.

“We’re a younger team. We have some big egos, but guys are willing to learn. The younger guys feed off our vibes, demeanor and work ethic. If we do that right, they follow which is good,” noted Franklin.

Some obstacles

Halifax doesn’t have what is considered any wins over signature programs, but they have gone toe to toe with larger local public schools.

The Knights lost to University by five points, New Smyrna Beach by six points and Deltona Pine Ridge by five points.

Last year, Halifax went 22-8 and made it to the Class 2A state playoffs.

Although obstacles remain, the team believes that they can return to the postseason.

Looking ahead

In district 2A-3, defending champion and current top seed Jacksonville North Florida Educational Institute and Ormond Beach Calvary Christian Academy are the top contenders.

“If we play our roles and buy into what we’re doing, then we won’t have any problems. I think that we’re better than last year,” expressed Northington.

Dougherty echoed, “To just get back, we are going to have to really work on the fundamentals and little things as a team. We are going to have to beat one of the top teams in our class to advance. We’ll have to play complete games.”

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