There will be youth. There won’t be much size inside. But there will plenty of speed on the floor.
Madison County’s boys’ basketball team aims to force opponents into up-tempo games this season, while hoping to capitalize on team quickness in 2012-13.
“We’re undersized, but we try to use quickness and speed to our advantage,” said Red Raider head coach Steve Crouse, whose team finished 9-18 last year. “We’ll try to make the game a little faster and put pressure on our opponents.”
Of course, game plans are far from set.
The team had to wait for football season to end before having its full roster available.
“We just started with the football players yesterday,” said Crouse. “So we’re just trying to figure these pieces out.”
Crouse said the team is heavy on freshmen and sophomores and light on upper classmen.
The current roster includes seniors Taylor Crouse, Keidrick Curry, Ryan Thomas and Trey Morris, juniors Tadamien Curry, Laderius McGuire and Kirkland Moon, sophomores Malik Freeman, Garrison Harris, Marques Henson, Jalyn Howard, Chris King, Stefan McCrary, TJ Skelton and Neal Bulla, as well as freshmen Sam Bartlett, Tyler Griffeth, Cade Hancock, Ryan Moon, Cameron Stevenson, Trey Trimier and Josh Wymbs.
“We’re trying to see who’s ready for varsity and who needs some time at the JV level,” he said. “We know we’ll have eight or nine kids who’ll play significantly for us. And maybe 11 or 12 early, because the football guys don’t have their legs yet.”
Though Madison County remained in Region 8-AAAA this year, the state re-alignment left the school with a completely new slate of opponents. Crouse said this is a good thing.
“I feel our school numbers match up a little better than before,” said Crouse. “The pool of athletes to draw from is about the same size. I don’t think we’ll run into a situation where a school just has a ton of big kids. That said, it’s a good basketball region.”
Crouse said Johnson and Chestatee have traditionally tough teams. He said he expects good things from Monroe, Walnut Grove, Stephens County, Lumpkin and Eastside.
Another major change in 2012-13 is Madison County’s home court. With massive renovations under way at Madison County High School, all MCHS basketball home games will be played at the Madison County Middle School gym.
“We really appreciate the middle school allowing us to use their facilities,” said Crouse. “They’ve been really good about working things out with us. It’s a nice gym. The floors are good. The rims are good. There’s a little more space around the outside.”
Crouse noted that some of the younger players are used to playing in the gym, but he added that the move will be an adjustment for a team that practices in the high school gym.
“We’ll have to re-orient ourselves to another facility,” he said.
Madison County opens its season this weekend with games against Hart County Saturday and Stone Mountain Tuesday. Crouse said much of Hart County’s team is still playing football. The Red Raiders defeated Hart County twice last year. He said Stone Mountain struggled last year and lost seven seniors off that team. But he also noted that Stone Mountain has some height inside and also plays in a tough Atlanta region.