With primarily freshmen on its roster, the Manassas Park High School boys basketball team took its lumps in Gary Chicko’s first season as head coach by finishing with a 1-22 record.
But four years later, the Cougars are benefitting from their core group staying together. Manassas Park is off to a 6-1 start going into next Friday’s four-team tournament at Park View High School.
And Chicko credits the team’s experience as the main reason for its early-season success.
“Every year, they have gotten better,” Chicko said.
Seniors Myles Scott, Brandon Pitts and Michael Lindsay are all returning starters. Scott, a 6-4 shooting guard, was a second-team all-3A Region B pick and the Cougars’ leading scorer (15.6 ppg) last season.
Pitts, a 5-11 guard, was first-team all-district and the 6-2 Lindsay was second-team all-district.
Scott (16 points a game) and Lindsay (13.1 points) are the Cougars’ top two scorers, but a number of other players, including senior Devin Green and junior Desmond Baah are capable of big nights.
Chicko said the biggest difference this season is the team’s play on defense and their ability to execute different schemes with ease. Manassas Park is allowing 49.4 points a game. Outside of an 87-76 loss to Osbourn Park Dec. 7, the Cougars have not given up more than 52 points in a game.
“In the fourth year, they understand what I am doing,” Chicko said.