Raiders seek to forge identity, contend for district crown

Taf Bentley could spend all day talking about everything last year’s Navarre boys basketball team accomplished. The fourth-year head boys basketball coach of the Raiders could point to the school-record 17 wins, the district runner-up finish and the first trip to the regional in more than a decade.

Accomplishments, however, don’t carry over into the next season.

“I tell the guys they have to forge their own identity,” Bentley said. “We can talk about last year’s team, and they definitely changed the way we think up here about what our expectations are, but this group has to figure out its own identity. That’s something we are focused on.”

Navarre lost seven seniors to graduation but there are eight seniors on the roster this season, including Dominic Riddle, and they are the players who have been with Bentley since the beginning.

“They were freshmen when I got here, so if anyone knows the expectations we have, it’s them,” Bentley said. “We’re excited about this group.”

Dominic Riddle headlines the group as perhaps the team’s best-scoring threat, and is joined by fellow seniors Tyrese Harvey, Seth Fletcher, Royce Thomas, Cole Weathers, Gianni Hollomon, Tony Recinos and Zach Christieansan.

“This group plays extremely hard,” Bentley said. “Dominic plays harder than any other kid I’ve ever coached. Tyrese is a leader and plays hard and will get rebounds. I expect Seth to step in and dominate the boards. We’re excited to see what steps this team takes forward this season. We have a group of guys with a lot of talent and who will work hard.”

Sophomore Dante Wright will give the Raiders added depth and is expected to play a pivotal role on the team, although his focus is on football at the moment. Wright is a wide receiver with the Raiders and Thomas, a defensive back, is also still playing football.

“We want those guys to keep playing football and we hope not to get them back until the middle of December after they have played for a state championship,” Bentley said.

Read more  in the Nov. 17 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.

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