Lee-Scott Boys’ Basketball to Rely on Depth and Pace
BY WIL CREWS
The Lee-Scott varsity boys’ basketball team has championship expectations in 2021-22.
“Expectations are good,” said head coach William Johnson. “And we have high expectations. With those expectations, I don’t want to put stress on them, but those are good things to have. Our expectations are to win a championship.”
Despite losing last year’s leading scorer Carson Alexander, Johnson’s squad this season boast a reloaded roster with lots of experience.
“Alexander was probably our biggest offensive production loss — a double digit scorer per game,” Johnson said. “But on the flip side we return four out of five starters. Our team was pretty young last year, we started three sophomores. So the nucleus of our team is for the most part back.”
With a strong core and revamped bench, Johnson will turn to this year’s seniors — particularly guard Carter Blackmon and forward Caleb Dover — to set the tone for his team in 2021-22.
“We have seniors that are program players who will be the leaders this year,” Johnson said. “Blackmon and Dover are pretty good leaders in their own right. They have been with me since junior high. They know the expectations of our program. They know our program has been successful long before I got here. The expectations of every year we are working toward a championship.”
Having a squad that has experience playing together sets the Warriors up to quickly find their identity on the court — one that Johnson hopes is versatile based on his team’s depth and offensive aggression, he said.
“Our goal is to really have pace,” Johnson said. “Pace is not fast. Its lots of transition. We are going to press, we are going to play man and get up and down. The term pace and space is the popular term and that’s what we try to do in early offense, but if it’s not there we can grind you. I would like multiple possessions. We can play two different styles if we need to so I think that is going to be really good for us. We are deep so I would like to play a lot of guys; I think that will be to our benefit.”
Off the court, Johnson said he knows his seniors will set the right mentality, too.
“They know what it’s going to take to be successful both on and off the court,” Johnson said.
Despite maybe not having the most talented team, Johnson said he hopes the group’s comradery will set them apart.
“The locker room is a big part of it,” he said. “The best team doesn’t always win; the closest team, it’s hard for them to give up because they know what they have put into it. And that’s kind of where we are. I want this group to be close and tight to where it gets difficult it’s hard for us to give up.”
While Johnson said his team just recently got back to full strength — thanks in most part to the varsity football players who are just now joining in on practice — he isn’t worried about a slow start because of the squad’s preparation in the offseason.
“We play a lot in June and we go to multiple camps,” Johnson said. “We have some new guys that have joined us but for the most part we have our nucleus and one of the things we have to do early is really build our team and really kind of get back into the swing of being together. We have always been a tight-knit group and I expect that this year. Our senior leadership is always strong and I’m counting on that again this year to become the best team we can possibly be.”
The Warriors began their season Tuesday with a home game against Wiregrass. With just one contest in the books, it’s too early to tell this team’s real potential. However, Johnson is confident in his squad’s ability and is just trying to take it day-by-day, getting better with each passing contest as they push to their ultimate goal.
“I don’t know if we are the best team this year, I can’t tell that one way or another,” he said. “Our goals are to make it to the last day of practice every year. Max out our practices is what I always say and we will see where the chips lie. If we have the mindset that we aren’t going to worry about wins and loses early on, we are focused on getting better each day with expectations of winning a championship if at all possible.”