Wakefield Warriors Return to the Shootout to Represent Virginia Basketball
After participating in the Vivint Shootout in Utah, the Warriors used the experience they gained from the tournament to run the table in conference play by posting a 12-0 record.
In postseason play, Wakefield reached the Virginia 5A North Regional quarterfinals and this year the Warriors, who are from Arlington, VA, will make their second appearance in the Vivint Great Western Shootout.
“This was a very new experience for our kids. Most of them hadn’t been out of the state of Virginia,” said Wakefield coach Tony Bentley. “We had to get used to the altitude but we beat Orem in the first game and I thought Orem students showed a lot of class when they were cheering for the team that beat them for the rest of the tournament. They even got to know our players’ names.”
Wakefield must overcome the loss of its guard line. Halil Parks is now playing at Notre Dame and Allan Trickle is suiting up for the University of Mt. Olive (North Carolina).
Wakefield will return senior Amari Cooper, a 6’4 forward, who has (offer from Newberry College in South Carolina). Cooper is the team’s athletic high flyer, with an inside/outside game. He led the team in rebounding for the last two seasons with nearly seven rebounds per game. Ben Horsford is a Gannon University (Pennsylvania) signee and figures to lead the team in 3-pointers and in scoring. He averaged 20 points per game in the summer and fall. Both players continued to progress in the offseason and are ready to lead the Warriors this year as co-captains.
The Warriors will also be counting on a trio of juniors to round out their starting five. Chris Warner, a 6’4, sharp-shooter, who can score in a variety of ways.
Jared Watkins (6’2) will take over the point guard duties and Robbie Starkey (6’5) will start at center.
There is a solid core of young but unproven talent that will be competing with playing time off the bench. The junior varsity and freshman teams combined for a 29-3 record.
Bentley enters his 16th year. He has 276 wins and over the last five years, his team has a 120-22 record. Under his leadership, the Warriors have won five conference championships in a row.
The program is closing in on its 300th career victory with Bentley at the helm. He begins the season with 276 career wins.
“We’re excited to come back. We had a great experience last year,” Bentley said. “We open the season against W.T Woodson, the top team in Virginia. They won the 6A state championship last year and we open up the Shootout with Wasatch Academy so we know that we’ll be in for a challenge.”