By Matt Hill
The JCMS Boys Varsity Basketball Team figures to be strong after this same group won the JV title as seventh graders, but theres only one problem.
Several of the JCMS players have been members of the outstanding football team that wound up regional runner-ups and now head coach Eddy Phillips is trying to get the boys in basketball shape.
After a sub-par performance at the jamboree a couple of weeks ago, it looks like its going to take a couple of weeks for the squad to get the football out of them.
Ive got four or five football players and three of the five are starters, Phillips said. Football is a terrific sport, but its different from basketball. Football is more about strength and basketball is just five games on the floor and all five are involved the whole time. You cant take a few minutes to ease into it; you have to be ready to go right off the bat. But its a good problem to have.
Once the Longhorns get the football out of them, the sky is the limit for this group.
The team has a strong point guard in J.R. Speed and a big scorer in Chase Phillips, a great big man in Scotty Tester and a good group of boys all the way around.
This team has got everything it needs as far as the God-given part, Phillips said. There are certain stuff good teams have got to have that nobody can give them, the good Lord has got to give it to them. This group has that. Now the being in shape, having their head right and all the stuff thats my job, that goes with what Ive got to do, but the part they needed from the good Lord, theyve got that. If they dont do good or theyre not in shape or dont play defense, thats my problem.
With this group already with one championship under its belt, Phillips has to keep the team from thinking championship No. 2 is going to be easy.
Its just about a bad thing as it is a good thing, Phillips said. These kids are not 20 or 25 years old, theyre 13 or 14 year-old boys. In the back of their mind, theyre thinking we won it last year well win it again this year and a lot of the time when youre trying to sneak up on people its easier to do it than to repeat.
The schedule is very difficult for the Longhorns as they have Hampton twice and also Cloudland and Hunter before the month of Nov. is out.
The latter part of the season when well probably be playing better, we have the other end of the conference. We dont have four, five or six weeks to get ready.
Phillips knows that he has a good group of kids, both on and off the court.
We do not have one punk on the team, Phillips said. They all make good grades, theyre clean cut and they are a super bunch of kids. They may be a little too nice. As a coach you want them to have a little grit.
Junior Varsity Boys
The seventh graders will give fans a lot to look forward to under new Coach Bones Grindstaff.
I dont know if well be as strong as we were last year, but well be pretty strong on the boards this year. Our guards need a lot more work, but theyre coming along. I think well have a pretty good season this year.
Though the team is not as big as in previous years, Grindstaff does like this group and the kids involved.
Theyre a hard working group and theyre good boys, he said.
Jay Humphrey, who left the program to take a job in Florida, coached the JCMS junior varsity team the last two years.
Humphrey did an outstanding job preparing the boys for eighth grade and even high school and also won a championship last year.
Grindstaff knows he has a tough act to follow.
He was a big help to me and Im going to miss him, he said. He was a big help to our program.
The JCMS Varsity Girls have talent and now they are hoping to put everything together.
They played really last year and we have a full schedule for them, but our conference is so tough with Hampton, Cloudland, Happy Valley, Hunter and Chuckey-Doak, JCMS head coach Greg Reece said. Everybody is pretty good. To be honest when we go to the tournament at Daniel Boone its usually easier than what we play in conference. Well be better, but I dont know how its going to reflect on the record. Theyre a good group of girls and theyre working really hard.
Reece likes what he sees from his girls.
Weve got good size inside, some girls that can play the outside wing and some girls who can play the point, he said. To be honest this is the best depth weve had. Weve got girls that can play.
Reece says the team is looking good defensively.
Defensively were going to be pretty strong, he said. Well dabble with a little more pressure and well play some man to man and throw in some zone. This is a group that can change on the fly. We wont have to play one defense the whole game.
Junior Varsity Girls
The JCMS seventh graders have one of the tallest groups in recent memory and they will try to us their size to win games.
We have a lot of size, but we still need to work on fundamentals and we still need to work as a team, JCMS JV Coach Janet Brooks said. They have a lot of potential, but its going to take a lot of work.
One thing I can say about this group is that theyre not afraid to use their size, Brooks said. Once they get the fundamentals down theyre going to use their size. Theyre not afraid to use it.
One thing about this group is they do work hard.
They have a great work ethic and they dont complain, Brooks said. Theyre real good kids.