Sky is the limit for deep, athletic Providence Day boys

In Brian Field’s previous six seasons as Providence Day’s boys basketball coach, the Chargers had topped 18 wins just one time. But this season is shaping up to be much different.

The 2012-13 Providence Day boys basketball team includes (from left) Grant Williams, coach Brian Field, Devin Mills, Jordan Watkins, Bryon Fields and Chaz Raye.

The Chargers (17-4, 2-0 Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association) have used a nine-man rotation and a relentless, trapping defense to kick start what Field said is the most athletic Providence Day team in nine years, when former Charger guard Jeremy Goode patrolled the court and Field still was an assistant coach.

And despite the Chargers’ first-place standing in the CISAA, there’s reason to think their success is only the start of a string of talented teams to come.

Providence Day’s losses have come at the hands of  private-school powers Greensboro Day, High Point Wesleyan Christian and Hickory Grove, along with public-school stalwart Olympic. But the wins have been impressive, and they keep piling up, thanks to the Chargers’ turnover-inducing halfcourt defense, which feeds an offense that’s getting contributions from seemingly every
Charger.

The two leading scorers – junior Davidson College recruit Jordan Watkins (16.1 points, 3.2 steals per game) and senior Duke football commit Bryon Fields (15.1 points) – have been with the program for the past three seasons. They provide the bulk of guidance for a young and improving squad that features seven freshman and sophomores.

Joining Fields and Watkins in the starting lineup is junior forward Devin Mills (8.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.7 steals), heady sophomore point guard Chaz Raye (5.3 points while spearheading the trapping defense) and 6-foot-5 freshman post Grant Williams (eight points, five rebounds).

Williams said there’s a reason he and fellow 6-5 freshmen Josh Howard and Isaac Johnson keep getting better.

“We have great leadership from Jordan and Bryon,” said Williams. “They push us in practice and challenge us to get better every day.”

Senior James Yeldell and sophomore Miles Bowser also contribute nightly for the Chargers.

Despite the Chargers’ early-season success, they aren’t satisfied.

“We compete in practice,” Fields said. “We get after each other, and I think that gives us the confidence in each other and lets us know that everyone will be in the right spot and doing the right thing.”

In a recent 72-52 thrashing of rival Charlotte Latin on Jan. 18, Providence Day displayed its promise.

Fields scored 20 points, and Watkins and Williams each added 12. Nine Chargers scored in the game, something that’s becoming commonplace.

“Once that momentum starts building, we start to play harder on defense,” Fields said. “That leads to buckets, and it builds from there. That’s our style – to get out and run. Once our shots start falling and we can get some turnovers, (other teams) are in trouble.”

Fields said this season has been rewarding and he’s anxious to see how far the team can go once the younger players really hit their stride.

“To see these young guys grow up and mature and to join in with what Coach Field and the older guys are trying to do is fun to watch,” Fields said. “When we can come out and get a result like this, it’s really nice.”

Field was pleased with the Latin win but knows his team has to continue to get better for this season to end in the same manner it’s begun.

“Any time you can get a win against your biggest rival is big,” Field said. “We can enjoy it, but we have to get back after it and get ready for (our next opponent).”

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