High school basketball season begins this week and this year’s Falcon ballers have their eyes on the prize in District 8, Region 2.
Fort Campbell travels tonight to play their first game of the season against Caldwell County with new head coach Stacy Harrell at the reins, replacing Rashaun Echols.
Having served as assistant coach to last year’s team, which finished with a 6-17 record, Harrell is confident his new direction and focus will enable the team to make this season a winning one.
“Last year we had a lot of talent that didn’t want to work hard,” said Harrell. “This year I have guys that are both talented and willing to work. They are working hard; they are stepping up to the challenge. It’s going to be a much better year.”
“Emphasis on discipline and execution – that is our key focus this year,” said Harrell. “Run the play, set accurate screens, make the other team work, be mentally focused throughout the game, help each other when we get down. We are looking at major changes [this season] and all our steps so far are headed in the right direction.”
Although the team comes into the season with a loss of 12 seniors, Fort Campbell has many of its top players returning.
“I have my returning guard, Jonathan Jethroe, returning this year,” said Harrell. “Michael Tatum has gotten a little stronger over the summer, along with Anil Cole-John. Those three will be our top guns.”
Senior Cole-John is eager to begin the season, confident that the team’s hard work during the past weeks of practice will become evident in the form of wins.
“We have better communication [this year] and we actually work together better than we have in the past couple years,” said Cole-John. “I feel like we all have a common goal this year. We are all on the same page.”
Returning point guard and small forward Tatum believes their new focus is going to produce a successful season.
“The new schemes and plays that we have, they will work,” said Tatum. “We’ve got a lot of talent, we’re focused and we have people who can make plays. The team is more disciplined this year. We need to keep focus on playing our roles – once we know our roles and embrace them, we’ll shine.”
In addition to its returning players, the Falcons also welcome promising new talent.
“We have one new player – sophomore Tiyas Hall-Scott, a guard, and I’m expecting a big year out of him,” said Harrell.
The team’s competition this year include top rival and 2013 regional champion Hopkinsville High School, a team Fort Campbell is anxious to meet on the court.
“Hopkinsville High School are the big dogs, they are the top team in our region,” said Cole-John. “We want to show them what we’ve improved on.”
Harrell’s believes his team is ready to take on any and every team in their district and region.
“Everybody in our region is pretty good and right now we are looking to upset all of them,” said Harrell. “That is our goal.”
Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Caldwell County.
“Season kicks off [tonight], everybody’s excited,” said Harrell. “Attitudes are ready; we know the guys are going to be ready. We are just looking for a successful season.”