By FRANCIS FEDOR
Sumner tipped off the basketball season by ending the first week of the season at 1-1. The Stingrays opened the season on Tuesday, Nov. 30, with a 48-44 loss to the Durant Cougars and finished the week with a 57-31 win over South Shore rival East Bay on Friday night.
With the Stingray football season coming to an end, the focus will now turn to the hardwood. Sumner saw a number of off-season changes to the basketball program. Ryan Bethony takes over as the full-time head coach, replacing Jamie Turner.
The team also saw the departure of a major contributor in Caleb Williams, who is now attending a program in the hopes of getting looks from college scouts. Greg Williams ends his Sumner athletics career as a football player and will not return. Tyler Williams was hurt at the end of the football season and is going to be spending much of his time rehabbing to prepare for his final football season as a Stingray. The team returns the high energy Jacob Douglas and Ayden Dushing, who will look to replace the perimeter scoring the ’Rays lost from the departed Caleb Williams.
Sumner started strong in front of the home crowd and ended the first quarter up 16-11 on a six-point effort from Douglas and a couple of three-point buckets from Dushing. The ’Rays couldn’t hold the momentum, added only five points in the second quarter and saw Durant take a 22-21 half-time lead to the locker room. Sumner regrouped and came back to win the third quarter 15-14 for a deadlocked game heading to the final quarter. As has been the case in football, the Durant game has turned into a rivalry that brings out the best in both teams and the final quarter was a hard fought quarter, which came down to the wire. Unfortunately for the home crowd, the Cougars finished stronger than the ’Rays and left with the win. Karsten Walker finished with 12 points to lead the Stingray scorers.
Sumner wasn’t going to be denied and took care of business on Friday, Dec. 1, at East Bay. Again, the ’Rays ran out to a quick lead, ending the first quarter up 12-4. Unlike the Durant game, they built on that lead and took a 30-14 lead into halftime.
The Stingrays easily finished off the Indians with a 27-17 second half. East Bay is now 0-4 on the early season and is continuing its struggles from last season. East Bay is in the midst of a rebuild and is still trying to find an identity. Sumner guard Jacob Douglas accounted for a third of his teams points, finishing with 18 points for the game, six of those from the free throw line. Douglas spends a good part of his time trying to create and will spend a lot of time shooting free throws this season.
The calendar has turned to December. Winter officially arrives on Dec. 21, but winter sports will be in full swing by the time the days start to get longer. The Stingrays are hoping to make Ryan Bethony’s first full season a season to remember. Sumner will play seven games between now and Christmas, will have hosted Lennard before this edition goes to press, will travel to Hillsborough to take on the Terriers and stay on the road to finish the week at Newsome on Dec. 8. All games are at 6:30 p.m. for the start of the winter season, followed by a girls basketball nightcap. 2024 is right around the corner. It will be interesting to see where this new edition of the ’Rays will finish. Stay tuned!
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