Thursday, January 16, 2014
The North Augusta boys basketball team is ready to get back on the court.
The Jackets (10-3) haven’t played a game since Jan. 4 when they defeated Cross Creek 57-48. Since that time, the team has been preparing for region play, which is scheduled to begin against Lexington on Tuesday.
“This is a time that we have been working on fundamentals and has given us a break from game preparation,” Al Young, head coach of the Jackets, said. “It gave us time to go back and work on the little things in the game to make sure we’re getting better.”
The Jackets have been working on rebounding and defense, according to Young.
“Our rebounding is a big part that we need to improve, and being able to handle pressure,” he said. “We always want to work on our defense, making sure we’re boxing out and closing out. We want to make sure we do those kinds of things in practice so that when we get into a game we’re doing those things.”
For the players, region games give them a new focus, as they know these games are important for playoff positioning. The Jackets are hoping to go undefeated in the region, according to Chandler Harrison, a forward on the team.
“We want to go undefeated in region,” he said. “We played some good teams (in non-region play) and after each game we learned more, fixed mistakes, and got better. We’re ready to go.”
For Young, the region portion of the schedule is more difficult and the teams are even better.
“You always expect the very best (in region games),” he said. “Our region is very tough, it’s going to be tough again this year. You really have no nights off. We have to talk about being consistent, being smart in what we do. It’s going to be brutal, our region is going to be tough.”
The expectation for North Augusta is to bring home another region crown, according to Young.
“Our goal is to go back and win the region again,” he said. “That’s what we talk about, that’s what our goal is. We just have to make sure that we work hard, get better and hopefully we can make it happen.”
For Harrison and his teammates, winning the region is a goal, but getting a ring for their seniors is even more important. Harrison expects to see his point guard, Christian Davis, lead the team through region play.
“We talk about (winning a ring) all the time so I know he’s going to go even harder the rest of the season,” Harrison said. “He’s a senior and he wants a ring.”
For the Jackets, the mission begins with Lexington on Tuesday, then at White Knoll on Friday.
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for the North Augusta Star. Follow him on Twitter @lundeentj for more updates.