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Dorsey Finds New Floor General in Patton : Basketball: Dons hope that transfer student from Louisiana will help lead the charge back to the city championship.

August 06, 1995|CHARLES SMITH | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Led by stars such as Kenya Wilkins and the late Davy Fortson, Dorsey High used to have one of the most revered basketball teams in the Central City.

The Dons appeared in the City Section 4-A Division finals during the 1993 and 1994 seasons, losing to eventual State Division I champion Crenshaw both times.

Wilkins and Fortson, who died during a shooting last spring, were succeeded by Wil ONeal and Jason Howzell; and although Dorsey defeated Crenshaw twice during the 1994-95 season, the Dons made an uncharacteristically early exit in the first round of the City 4-A playoffs.

The Dons are hoping that Jason Patton, a 6-foot-4 transfer from Louisiana, can help lead Dorsey back to the finals for a third time in four years.

"He will be one of the focal points of our team," Dorsey Coach Kevin Gibson said. "Right now, everything is based around Patton and Lamont Frazier."

Dorsey's latest dynamic duo has played well together this summer, leading the Dons to the championship of the Second Annual Sportsworld Basketball Tournament at Huntington Park last weekend.

Patton, a swingman, had 21 points in Dorsey's 61-55 win over Lynwood in the finals and was named tournament most valuable player.

"Jason works well inside and rebounds, and he also has three-point range," Gibson said.

The 6-2 Frazier, who plays both guard spots, was one of Gibson's top subs last season.

"I like his flexibility," Gibson said. "He shoots extremely well from the outside, and I can post him up because he is stronger than most guards. Both guys should be among the top players in the city next season."

In winning the championship this time around, Dorsey avenged last year's 59-51 loss to Manual Arts in the finals.

Dorsey also reached the finals of the VOC Second Annual Antonio Lewis Memorial Summer Basketball Classic at Washington, but lost to Long Beach Jordan, 49-45.

Nevertheless, the Dons are jelling as a team, something they had problems doing during last year's 13-10 season.

"We are playing more as a team and less as individuals," Gibson said. "They have good cohesiveness. I like where the team is at right now."

Dorsey will be in the hunt for the 4-A title, and Franklin appears to be ready to defend its 3-A crown based on summer performances.

The Panthers, which defeated Birmingham to win the City 3-A championship last season, had a strong showing in the Sportsworld tournament.

Franklin will be without the services of two-sport star Johnnie Sanders this season, but guard Kesh DeSargent has done well filling in as team leader.

"You obviously never replace a Johnnie Sanders," Franklin Coach Robin Cardona said of the City Times all-star. "But we have people capable of stepping up to make this team competitive."

One such is DeSargent, who had 15 points in the Panthers' 78-58 loss to Dorsey in the semifinals.

DeSargent also had 15 points in a 61-46 win over Huntington Park.

"Playing alongside Johnnie really helped Kesh's confidence and maturity," Cardona said. "The team is his now."

At Verbum Dei, the team that was Mike Kearney's team bears some resemblance to the 26-5 Eagles that ran away with the State Division IV-A title last season.

Verbum Dei, under a new head coach, Deon Evans, defeated the Ray Dog traveling team in the consolation championship of the Sportsworld tournament.

Other area teams participating in the tournament included Manual Arts (without Travis Reed), which lost to Lynwood, 55-40, in the semifinals, and Huntington Park, which defeated the Ray Dogs in the first round and lost to Franklin in the second round.

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