Updated Mon, Dec 2, 2013 6:30 pm
The Alexander Spartans boys basketball team has deteriorated significantly over the last two seasons, posting a combined record of just 9-35 (5-18, 0-10 in the TVC-Ohio last year).
This year, the Spartans look to flip around their recent woes behind the return of many key players, as well as a new look at their head coaching position.
First-year head coach Jim Kearns has conveyed new opportunities to the Spartans, and has encouraged them to improve on their performance from a season ago, especially against TVC-Ohio opponents. His belief in hardnosed, man-to-man defense has put pressure on his players to compete and dart them from the bottom of the rankings to the top of the TVC.
“We want to be that team that no one wants to play defensively,” said Kearns.
Playing hardnosed defense will be crucial for the Spartans, considering the youth of their squad. Alexander is returning just one senior this year in Chris Wingett, however, Kearns believes that they are experienced enough to contend.
“We’ve got a lot of minutes coming back,” said Kearns. “If you look at our roster, you’d say young, but I say experienced.”
The Spartans were winless in the TVC-Ohio last season, nevertheless, they have reason for hope.
Part of the experience that Kearns is looking for comes from junior point guard Jordan Mosley, who has started for the Spartans the past two seasons. Mosley led by example last season, playing pressure defense and facilitating the offense. Such play will be expected again this season.
Along with Mosley, the Spartans will return sophomore cousins Cory and Mason Chapman, as well as sophomore forward Seth Richardson. All three of these players provided a spark for the Spartans last year, gaining the necessary varsity experience in which they will benefit from this year.
Despite having all of this familiarity, the Spartans are going to have to find a way to replace Braden Jones.
Jones was “Mr. Everything” for the Spartans last season. He led the team in scoring, as well as rebounds and used his 6-foot-2 frame to wreck havoc on teams defensively. Coach Kearns knows that no single player will be able to replace the productivity of Braden, instead, he will be looking for a combined effort from the team to be more efficient.
Producing an unbreakable defense and a fast break offense is going to be the key for the Spartans this season. The experience on the entire roster will be a determining factor for Alexander as they look to shake up the standings in the TVC-Ohio.