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Monday, Apr 23, 2018
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Berkeley Prep boys’ basketball eyes state title

TAMPA — The Berkeley Prep boys basketball team jumped out to a 15-1 start on the season but all still aren’t quite on the same page.

On the court, the Bucs are clockwork, even as they entered their Jan. 7 game against district rival Tampa Catholic without three starters. They put together a solid lead before a scare at the end, but seniors N’namdi Green and Craig Bowman picked up the slack, combining for 36 points. They clicked like a Swiss watch until after the game.

How far can the Bucs go this year?

“We can play with anyone,” Bowman said. “We aren’t thinking about anything except the next game.”

Seconds later, Green had a different opinion.

“We believe this is the year to get states,” Green said. “That’s been our goal since the start of the year. We are good enough to win states and that’s what we are aiming for. We’ve been talking about it since the beginning.”

Berkeley Prep coach Bobby Reinhart could only shake his head and laugh. It turns out, Reinhart said, that both of his players had a point.

“They are both right,” Reinhart said. “We have a tough team so it goes both ways. We have to take it one at a time but we have to be setting our goals, so I guess they were both right. It’s a tough road to get there so, yes you have to take it a game at the time, but we have our eyes on something at the end of the year because this team is special.”

The Bucs have been winning without 60 percent of their starting lineup but that’s about to change. Point guard Chris McWilliams, captain Justin Gray, and Marshall Holmes have been missing since the holiday break. They are expected to start coming back soon and all should be ready by the end of the regular season, but Green and Bowman have picked up any slack left behind by the missing starters.

Holmes averaged 14 points in four games before his injury. Gray averaged a team-high 18 points, and McWilliams was steady on both ends of the court.

It hasn’t slowed down the Bucs who, as of Jan. 7, had suffered their only loss a week before the win over Tampa Catholic, a setback to Orlando Lake Highland Prep.

So what is it, coach? One game at a time or all about going after a new banner for the Berkeley Prep gym? ”It’s both,” Reinhart said. “One game at a time, but we think we have a shot this year so I don’t mind them talking about it as long as they stay focused on now.”

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