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JCMS Boys looking to continue success

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 there’s 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 it’s going to take a couple of weeks for the squad to get the football out of them.
I’ve got four or five football players and three of the five are starters,” Phillips said. “Football is a terrific sport, but it’s 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 can’t take a few minutes to ease into it; you have to be ready to go right off the bat. But it’s 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 that’s my job, that goes with what I’ve got to do, but the part they needed from the good Lord, they’ve got that. If they don’t do good or they’re not in shape or don’t play defense, that’s 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.
“It’s just about a bad thing as it is a good thing,” Phillips said. “These kids are not 20 or 25 years old, they’re 13 or 14 year-old boys. In the back of their mind, they’re thinking we won it last year we’ll win it again this year and a lot of the time when you’re trying to sneak up on people it’s 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 we’ll probably be playing better, we have the other end of the conference. We don’t 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, they’re 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 don’t know if we’ll be as strong as we were last year, but we’ll be pretty strong on the boards this year. Our guards need a lot more work, but they’re coming along. I think we’ll 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.
“They’re a hard working group and they’re 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 I’m going to miss him,” he said. “He was a big help to our program.”
Varsity Girls
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 it’s usually easier than what we play in conference. We’ll be better, but I don’t know how it’s going to reflect on the record. They’re a good group of girls and they’re working really hard.”
Reece likes what he sees from his girls.
“We’ve 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 we’ve had. We’ve got girls that can play.
Reece says the team is looking good defensively.
“Defensively we’re going to be pretty strong,’ he said. “We’ll dabble with a little more pressure and we’ll play some man to man and throw in some zone. This is a group that can change on the fly. We won’t 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 it’s going to take a lot of work.
“One thing I can say about this group is that they’re not afraid to use their size,” Brooks said. “Once they get the fundamentals down they’re going to use their size. They’re not afraid to use it.
One thing about this group is they do work hard.
“They have a great work ethic and they don’t complain,” Brooks said. “They’re real good kids.”