CHEROKEE — As the Southeast boys’ basketball team gets ready for one last season in the CNC before making the transition to the Three Rivers League, the Lancers hit the hardwood in 2016 under a new coach and a desire to compete.
Life has had its ups and downs for the Lancers in the CNC, but new head coach Dan Wall and the rest of the team has started the rebuilding process.
“We’re going to try and establish a winning attitude,” Wall said. “We do have three returning starters, but we don’t have any size. However, they’re still working hard and their attitudes have been good. I’ve pushed them pretty hard and they’ve seemed to have responded well. I think we’re just trying to establish a culture of winning and getting used to playing as hard as they can, for as long as they can.”
On paper, Southeast will be an experienced team, which plays scrappy, and can be a team opponents overlook.
“We have three senior starters returning and we have a couple others coming off the bench,” Wall said. “It’s very important that those seniors become our leaders on the team. I don’t think it’s natural for them, but they’re going to have to understand that we expect a lot from our leaders and they’re going to have to step up and be key for our season.”
Wall brings with him some new ideas and gameplans, but he said that regardless of X’s and O’s, success will depend on intensity.
“I hope we’ll learn to play as hard as we can, and we’ll just have to let the results play out,” he said. “I want the people who come out to watch us think that we really play hard. We’ve had to work extremely hard on passing and ball handling. Our fundamentals are lacking, but we’re getting better, so, hopefully, we can put it all together and be ready for the first game.”
It’s hard to guess what the new-look Lancers have up their sleeves before the first game, but Wall said he expects the pace to be fast.
“We’re certainly lacking size, so I think rebounding is a weakness, but I think our defense is going to be pretty adequate,” Wall said. “Hopefully, we can get out and cover people. Offensively, we want to go up and down the floor a little bit. We don’t want to walk it up, we want to push the ball, and hopefully we can get some easy scores doing that. However, we’re really going to have to work hard defense and rebound, that’s the two key things.”
Intense defense combined with a fast-paced offense will be a difficult challenge, but Southeast’s gameplan will be based on outworking opponents.
“I think we have to play extremely hard,” Wall said. “That’s going to be our motto everyday we come out to practice or play a game. We have to come out and play harder than our opponent, and I have stressed this to them. For us to be successful, we have to play extremely hard and play really tough defense, if we can do that, I think we have a chance to be decent.”
Jordan Buckamneer is a sports reporter of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @jbuckamneer.