Basketball season begins
Tip-off time is a few hours away for North Augusta High School's basketball program, as the boys' and girls' varsity squads both have their opening games set for Friday at home. The girls are to begin at 6 p.m. and the boys will follow.
The boys, with Al Young returning as head coach, have a senior-heavy squad. Tavarez Hall, Kenny Finley, Dexter Simmons, T.J. Sheppard, Robert Morgan and Steven Copeland are this year's 12th-graders.
Juniors on board are Christian Davis, Keyon West and Antaun Andrews, and the sophomores are Victor Johnson, Chandler Harrison and Malik Dunbar.
Young said Tuesday after practice that the roster may undergo another change, depending on injury concerns.
Quickness and experience are among this squad's strengths, he said, adding, "The thing that has impressed me about this team more than anything is that they're working so hard, and I just believe than when people work hard, good things happen."
He also commented on which players are likely to start. "We tell them that we'll change starting lineups after every practice. If they practice hard and they produce, then we certainly feel like they have an opportunity we start."
The goal, Young said, is "to keep everybody competitive and everybody working hard."
The Jackets narrowly missed a playoff bid in the 2011-12 season.
Running the girls' program is Crystal Cummings, in her first season, as the successor to Jared Adamson, whose 2011-12 squad reached the first round of the playoffs. The transition is going well, Cummings said said.
"They're very aggressive on defense, and they have a very good basketball I.Q., so ... they pick up on stuff very quickly, and I'm excited about that, also."
The squad's biggest strength, she said, is teamwork. "There is no selfish, 'hero' basketball, and I think that works the best for them. If they see the pass that needs to be made, they make the pass.
"It doesn't matter who scores, as long as we all score, and they all get back on defense, and I think they just enjoy playing with each other, and because they enjoy playing with each other, it translates over into the game."
Seniors on Cummings' squad include Monique Coxson, Shakira Reeves, Brianna Trowell, Arielle Houston and Jasmine Coach. The juniors are Ja'Lyn Snaders, Breanna Hightower, Mallory Stone, Ashley Blocker and Brianna Dicks, and the sophomore corps has Kellie Cooper, Des Wilson and Cydney Mathews.
The starting lineup, Cummings said, will include Houston as point guard, Stone and Sanders as guards, Coach as forward/guard and Wilson as center.