The Bluestone boys basketball season starts on December 3, and head coach George Lancaster recently sat down to discuss the upcoming season and preview things to come for the team. Last season the Barons went 16-8 overall with a 13-2 James River District record. Bluestone made it to the Region 2A semifinals where they fell to Greensville County to end their season. This season the roster will look a bit different than the one that Coach Lancaster ended last year with. 9 total players have departed the team that led the team to the Regional Semifinals. 8 were lost to graduation and one due to transfer.
This season Coach Lancaster is looking to go with a bevy of young players along with some seniors with experience to balance things out a bit. Lancaster will be looking to the trio of Michael Harris, Dat’Trione Shearin and Larry Bullock to lead the team this year. All three are seniors, and Shearin and Harris were co-captains on last years team. Bullock was a reserve player last year and Lancaster is looking for him to step up and play a larger role on this years team. Lancaster describes the trio as “three of the finer athletes in the school.” Harris is listed as 6’7 and was a starting center on last years team. Lancaster expects Harris to stay in that role this season. Shearin is listed as a 6’1 guard/forward, and Bullock is a 5’10 guard.
Tywen Hatcher is another senior that Lancaster is expecting to start. Hatcher is a 6’6 forward. Lancaster is looking for sophomore guard Victor Small to compete for a starting job as well. Small along with sophomore Nic Abernathy have both impressed Coach Lancaster in the offseason. Lancaster praised their work and and hopes to have them both contribute to the team this year. Garrett Allgood, Petey Jones and E.J. Jones are all sophomores that Coach Lancaster is looking to play varsity this season. Lancaster looks to have 10 players on the varsity team, and 12 on the JV team. He plans to have 3 of the JV players move up and down throughout the season between the JV and varsity teams as needed. Coach Lancaster says that they hope to have 22 players combined on the two rosters.
Coach Lancaster spoke about the game of basketball as a teaching tool. Lancaster says that he is a “basketball teacher” and that his goal is just that, to teach. He goes on to say that the “winning takes care of itself.” Speaking about expectations for the upcoming season, Lancaster says that his team should be into some close games. He references a saying that he has heard in the past “If we can keep it close, they might give it to you, but you have to keep it close.” Coach Lancaster goes on to say that his team has the talent to keep some games close. He also references playing 3A, 4A and 5A teams throughout the season and that playing up against higher talent levels will help them get better as a team. They have games scheduled against Park View and Southampton, along with scrimmages against Colonial Heights and Sussex. The Barons will also participate in the Halifax Christmas Tournament December 27-28 that will see them taking on some very talented teams.
Steve Whitten returns as an assistant coach this season, along with a new assistant coach Louis Duncan. Duncan joins the staff this year and Lancaster is excited to have him on board. He says that Duncan is a Bluestone product and is excited for him to get started. Coach Lancaster says that “attitude is everything” when it comes to his players. “The more positive and truthful you can be with people, they will understand.” Lancaster says. Coach Lancaster is hoping that the community will come out and support the team this season, and then adds that he knows that they will. The Barons took on Colonial Heights on Friday November 15 in a closed scrimmage that took place at Bluestone. The Barons will play Sussex in another scrimmage on Friday November 22 at 5:30. This game will be open to the public and will be played at Bluestone High School. The season opener is a home matchup with Central Lunenburg on December 3 at 7:00 pm.
Coach George Lancaster has been coaching basketball in Virginia for almost 50 years. He spent 37 years at Highland Springs High School where his teams won 2 state championships. He has also been inducted into the Virginia High School League Hall of Fame. Throughout his coaching career Lancaster has won 720 games, which puts him fourth on the all time wins list in Virginia High School League history. Lancaster is currently the leader among active coaches in Virginia history. The record is currently held by Robert E. Lee-Staunton’s Paul Hatcher who amassed 897 career wins. Hopewell’s Bill Littlepage is second on the list with 755 wins and Jack Baker of Maury is third with 746 wins. That puts Lancaster 26 wins away from taking over third place on that list. When speaking with Lancaster, he briefly mentions this but it is apparent that what he is focused on is the education of the young men at Bluestone about the game of basketball, along with the game of life. As Coach Lancaster put it “winning takes care of itself.”