With Perkins at helm, Chapel Hill still on the defensive

Nov. 18, 2013 @ 11:47 PM

It’ll still be about locking down on the defensive end when the Chapel Hill High School basketball team continues transitioning into the 2013-14 season under different  leadership at 7 p.m. tonight against visiting Northern High School.

Chapel Hill, which played on the road Monday night at Franklinton High School, has a new head coach in Lason Perkins, replacing Tod Morgan, who doubled as the school’s athletics director.

Morgan is coaching at C.B. Aycock High School in Pikeville, a job that he said provides a better fit for his family.

Former Roanoke Rapids High School athletics director Tim Bennett has taken charge of the sports at Chapel Hill.

Chapel Hill was a winning program under Morgan, and Perkins was his top assistant.

This will be Perkins’ first stint as a high school head coach. He admitted to feeling a bit anxious to continue the successful pattern that Morgan established.

“Obviously, the pressure’s on to build on that tradition and continue it,” Perkins said.

Perkins said he’ll benefit from not having to take over the program as an outsider.

Cardinal Gibbons High School coach Marque Carrington knows plenty about Perkins, highly regarded for his knowledge of the European style of basketball.

“Coach Perkins has a plethora of coaching experience,” Carrington said. “The basketball knowledge that Coach Perkins possesses is unbelievable. His work ethic and willingness to go the extra mile for his players will be a positive asset for the players and school community. I am excited that Coach Perkins will have an opportunity to run his own program, and I know he will do a great job. Coach Perkins played a big part in the success that the Chapel Hill basketball program has seen in recent years, and I believe he is the right person to continue that legacy.”

North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams vouched for the Chapel Hill basketball program in a note to Morgan.

“I’ve enjoyed watching you coach the last couple years, particularly when I was there watching Isaiah Hicks play,” Williams wrote. “Please keep doing a great job and I look forward to following your career at Aycock.”

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Hicks is a freshman for the Tar Heels, and both Williams and some of the UNC basketball players would show up at Chapel Hill when Hicks and his J.F. Webb Warriors arrived from Oxford to play the Tigers.

Charlotte 49ers guard Denzel Ingram played against Hicks and the Warriors when he was a Chapel Hill Tiger under Morgan and Perkins.

“Coach Perkins spent a lot of extra time with me working on different drills that helped me become a better player,” Ingram said. “He also spent a lot of time with me talking about the game of basketball and what to do in certain situations on the court.”

The Euro style that Perkins has integrated over the years at Chapel Hill emphasizes ball movement and players rubbing off ball screens. It’s about driving the ball into the paint and kicking it out to open shooters. Perkins isn’t opposed to having five shooters on the floor to stretch the defense in order to create clean looks at the basket.

Perkins said he and Morgan have different personalities, so Chapel Hill hoops may look different organizationally, but the philosophy of Tigers basketball won’t change.

“We’re still going to be a defense-first mentality,” Perkins said.

Shane Turner and Brian Thornton are expected to play key roles to make up for some of the production that Anthony Vanhook brought to the court last season before graduating.