By Tim Chambers
This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for head coach Devin Shaw and his middle school Longhorns. So far it’s been the opposite.
The Longhorns are currently undefeated after four games and Shaw has been pleased with their play.
“We’ve got a lot of good kids that work hard,” said Shaw. “We want to be a team that people dread playing when they see us on the schedule.”
That’s been the case so far in the early going.
The quintet of Zack Parsons, Corie Neely, Gavin Ward, Preston Greer and Big John Stout are currently penciled in as the starters. Parsons, Neely, Ward and Stout have all had multiple games scoring 10 or more points. Greer has put up some solid rebounding numbers and has shown his ability to score off the wing.
“Corie could be the best player in the league plus he’s a great leader,” said Shaw. “Preston has added to his game and can create his shot. Zach and John have good size and both of them can score in the paint and rebound. Gavin Ward is a good offensive player who has worked extra hard to improve his defense.”
Shaw won’t hesitate to use his bench. He’s trying to build some depth for the stretch run. Expect Dillon Kelly, Hunter Wilson and Nate Rice to see plenty of playing time. Dalton Brown could be another player that will add to their depth. Seth Condor gives them some excellent size off the bench plus he’s a good rebounder and scorer.
“We’re got several players that have improved in practice but we need to see them in game-type situations,” added Shaw. “Our main goal is to finish first and make the sectional at Pigeon Forge. We want to win championships. Right now we’re still in football mode. That’s got to be fixed. It’s a great thing to have because you know they’re competitors. We want to experience that type of success too.”
Shaw knows the road will be tough sledding with so many good teams in the league.
“I believe this team will compete for the championship and that’s been our goal since last year,” said Shaw. “Chuckey-Doak has some good shooters and Hampton will be tough along with Cloudland. Happy Valley is always a team that is well-coached and they play hard. It’s going to be a battle all year long to see who winds up on top. We hope that team will be us.”
Boys Head Coach” Devin Shaw
Girls head Coach: Brooke Boone