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Amid lofty expectations, no tip-toeing into season for Black Knights

To call Henninger’s 2011-12 boys basketball schedule anything but front-loaded would be misleading. Blasphemous, really.

The Black Knights open their season tonight, Dec. 8, by entertaining neighboring and three-time reigning Class A state champ Jamesville-DeWitt, home to All-American candidate Dajuan Coleman, in the Peppino’s Invitational. The 6-foot-8 center verbally committed to Syracuse in late October, and the Red Rams appear poised for another deep postseason run with Coleman driving the bus.

The fun continues Saturday, when the Black Knights host always-tough Christian Brothers Academy in another Peppino’s battle. Henninger then goes on the road Friday, Dec. 16, to face Utica Proctor. The Raiders knocked off the locals twice during the regular season in 2010-11 before the Black Knights got the final laugh, earning a thrilling 73-69 overtime win against Proctor in the Section III, Class AA title game.

With four starters returning from that 18-4 squad, which also copped a league title before bowing out in the regionals to CBA Albany, Henninger is likely locked in by its early season murderers’ row of opponents as a barometer-for-the-season game, too.

Digesting the schedule, Black Knights head coach Erik Saroney says bring it on.

“We certainly don’t ease into things this year, but with the guys we’ve got back, we’re excited to see what we can do,” said Saroney, in his 10th year at the helm. Henninger has won three league championships and three sectional crowns under Saroney. “The guys have shown that they are hungry, which isn’t always the case coming of a successful season. That’s very encouraging.”

Veterans Tevin Chisholm and Kavon Delee have been through plenty of battles, and will tip off their third year as starters tonight. Chisholm is a 6-1 senior guard who will play on the wing, but also has the ability to play up top in Henninger’s motion offense, and on defense. Delee, a well-built, 6-4 senior forward, will team up with 6-5 classmate Marquies Young to defend Coleman.

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