Carolina Forest boys

Carolina Forest’s boys play a game in 2020. This season has been marred by COVID-19 cancellations.  

With three new coaches in his region this year, Emmanuel Dewalt knows recent history won’t be much help in scouting.

Along with Dewalt, who is in his first season coaching Carolina Forest’s boys, St. James and South Florence also have new coaches — and new systems — this season.

“That makes it very interesting,” he said. “When you have some new guys coming in and new energy and the kids are excited, so that’s one thing that’s going to make it tough every single night.”

Carolina Forest (7-9, 1-0 region) picked up its first region victory Friday, an 83-61 drubbing of Socastee.

“I told the guys in pregame, we have complete control our own destination,” Dewalt said. “Starting the region out, everybody’s 0-0. It was going to be important that we got out on the right foot. … We know they’re going to be hungry just like we are.”

The Panthers were scheduled to face South Florence Tuesday after press deadlines and they face region rival Conway Friday night. Although the Panthers have struggled at times this season, point guard Kyle Watkins said players are confident they can compete for the region, especially if they find a more balanced offense.

“Just try to share the ball out there,” he said. “If everybody get involved, everything comes together. … Definitely we’re unselfish. We don’t care who makes a basket.”

Carolina Forest missed out on the postseason last year. And with so many new coaches and no clear frontrunner this winter, Dewalt expects the region competition to be intense.

“It’s going to be battle,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the team that won the region has a couple losses. Because on any given night, anyone can get a win.”


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