VIDEO, PHOTOS & STORY -- Eagles host Cape Henlopen in Smyrna High gym Friday, Nov. 30 at about 7 p.m., following the junior varsity game that starts at 5:45 p.m.

The number of returning starters is low, but Coach Andrew Mears still has high expectations for the Smyrna High School boys basketball team.

The Eagles tip off their season at home against Cape Henlopen Friday, Nov. 30 at about 7 p.m., following the junior varsity game that starts at 5:45 p.m.

Nahshon Sylvester, a junior, is the only returning starter from last year’s team that advanced all the way to the state championship game before falling to St. Elizabeth. Only four players return from last year’s varsity roster.

“Though we do not have the decorated players of a year ago, we are very deep with balanced talent and competitiveness,” said Mears. “Right now, there are many players that could find themselves contributing on the floor early on as we are still identifying roles.”

The rest of the roster includes seniors Ron Jackson, Kavii Woodruff and Jakir Hampton; juniors Quadir Hunter, Davaughn Stanford, Brandon Smith, Izaiah Credle, Taron Gibbs, Matthew Obiagu, Michah Matthews and Jacob Norris, and sophomore Olumuyiwa Salako.

While most of the players need more varsity playing time “to see the speed of the game and to connect the coaching points from practice,” Mears said the goals start with competing to win the Northern Division of the Henlopen Conference.

“Being the toughest conference in the state, if we can match the level of play of those teams, we can put together enough on our resume to make a run in the state tournament,” he said. “Each team in the North has their own unique coaching style and key players to make it as balanced as a conference we have seen in some time. Winning the conference two years in a row has placed a huge target on our back that most of our guys only inherited. That being said, I believe in the group we have this year and plan to be right at the top of the conference.”