With a Northeast 8 that many consider to be wide open, New Haven could be in an advantageous position.
The last three conference winners have been led by a large group of upperclassmen – East Noble the last two seasons and Huntington North in 2017.
With three starters back and two others who saw some spots starts late in the season for a team that won 10 games, New Haven coach Bruce Stephens feels his team should in the mix for a title.
Leading scorer Donovynn Lewis (14.0 ppg) is back and is joined by a pair of scoring threats in junior Thomas Latham (11.8 ppg) as well as senior Jamarr Hutchins (6.7 ppg).
A pair of familiar names will also contribute, with football players Jakar Williams and DeAndre Wright on the roster and will likely see big-time minutes.
“Dre is very coachable and when you add his cousin Jakar, they are consummate team players,” Stephens said. “They are long and can play with that inside and out. So the advantage is that we will have guys who can move around and play a lot of different positions.”
Latham at 6-foot-5 will be able to shoot from the perimeter but also rebound and finish at the bucket. If the Bulldogs can do that consistently while running up the floor, they should be in good shape.
JV leading scorer Bryce DeCamp has stepped up to varsity and will provide depth off the bench. Freshman Darrion Brooks, younger brother of Keion Jr., is currently injured but when he returns will add to the Bulldogs’ rotation.
Can New Haven compete with the likes of Norwell in the conference? The experience is there.
New Haven went 10-15 a year ago, but that followed three seasons of 17 or more victories. A slight setback for sure, but the Bulldogs have the talent and the experience to make a run at an NE8 title for the first time since it shared one in 2016.
Are the Bulldogs ready to compete against the best in the area? Not yet, but we could be proven wrong when New Haven faces both Blackhawk Christian and Homestead in early December.
WHY NOT HIGHER?
Who truly becomes the go-to scorer in the clutch? Both Latham and Lewis have the ability, but neither really grabbed the offensive reigns last year and ran with it.
If the Bulldogs have a scorer or two emerge who puts the team on his back, this team will be better for it, much better.
JAN. 25 AT NORWELL
The showdown that could decide the NE8 comes after an eight-day layoff for New Haven. The Bulldogs should be well rested for a matchup with a Knights team that has a solid mix of veterans and talented newcomers.
Can New Haven go on the road and take care of business?
PLAYER TO WATCH
DONOVYNN LEWIS, SENIOR
Lewis launched 10 more 3-point shots than he did shots from inside the arc a year ago, all while getting to the line just 48 times during the year.
If Lewis can get to the bucket and finish while also keeping his long-range prowess, he could be one of the top scorers in all of the NE8.