South Stokes basketball program is done making predictions. Instead the team is focused on one game at a time.
“We’ve done that in the past. It’s time to quit the talking and start playing a little better,” said coach Jason Clark.
Last season the Sauras placed sixth in the Western Piedmont Conference, squeaking out one 62-61 conference win against Forbush and finishing with six wins overall.
“We were young and I’m hoping we can see some progress on the court,” Clark said. “They’ve worked hard over the summer. They’ve kept playing together which was very crucial for us to get better.”
Since coming on as head coach in 2009, Clark’s led the Sauras to a number of winning seasons. In 2010-11 South landed in the sectional finals with a 19-7 record before falling two games away from a state championship run. The next two seasons South finished with 16 wins.
“We’ve had success here in basketball when our teams have bought in. I haven’t changed my coaching style over the years. It comes down to what the kids will adapt to and what they’re going to do,” Clark said.
The coach is looking to his four seniors this season Bryson Misenheimer, Landon Johnstone, Jaylin Simmons, and Keelan Goodwin for leadership on and off the court.
“I’m expecting a lot from these older guys. They’ve seen the adversity and I don’t know if they’ve tasted success like they’ve wanted to, so I expect them to stay hungry and humble at the same time. I believe they’ll set the tone.”
Goodwin is new to the team, although he’s an athletic staple at South. As leading rusher in football, he raked in 11 touchdowns this season, and has made two appearances in the track and field state championships.
“I wish he would have started earlier, but I’m glad he’s with us. He’s a great kid,” Clark said.
Moving up from JV as sophomores are Brady Dudley and Wesley Misenheimer.
“They did well this summer. Everyone brings something different to the table and I think they can plug holes when players come out. They’ll bring some energy off the bench. They’re smart kids and know what’s going on,” Clark said.
The coach is encouraged by the work ethic he’s seen from players at this point in the season.
“Effort isn’t an issue we’re having right now. They’re ready to play,” he said. “This team has a good chemistry; they play well together. There’s no selfishness and I love coaching teams like that. They don’t care who gets the accolades.”
After winning only a handful of games last season, Clark knows his team has something to prove.
“We like being under the radar. It’s motivating for them to achieve something others think they might not be able to do. I believe in these guys,” he said.
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.