Boys teams optimistic
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DAVID HUNTER
The Cannon Courier

The 2015-16 Cannon County Grammar School girls basketball preview ran in the November 17 issue of the Cannon Courier. This week it is the boys turn except for Westside. Head coach Roger Haley runs both programs and was kind enough to provide a combination preview for both teams. All six boys' coaches answered the same questions as their counterparts on the girls' side did last week.

Here is a look at the six local boys' teams and one girls' squad:


Auburn Knights
Head Coaches: Regan Vaughn and Blake Higgs
Roster: Luke Jakes, Braxton Gilley, Jon Heffelfinger, Josh Stansbury, Ricky Blair, Hunter Patterson, Ian Heffelfinger, Peyton Blair, Brenden Reed, Ryan Scott, Jacob Tramel, Tristen Swann, Steffan Blair, Ben Brown, Cade Emberton, Allen Leach and Kayden Murry.

Answers:
1. The season has not started out how we had planned, but we do not plan on continuing this way. We plan on working hard and improving. They all love basketball and they are very excited for this season.
2. Luke Jakes: The Jakes family is well known in basketball throughout Cannon County. He is the younger brother of Briar Jakes, senior at the high school, and Abby Jakes, who was a starter on the girls' team a few years ago. He lives and breathes basketball. He is always in the gym working or watching it at home. He is dedicated.
Braxton Gilley: He gives it his all every game. He is strong as an ox, and he just has to learn how to use his body to his advantage.
3. It will take hard work, every day, every possession. We cannot quit on ourselves or each other.
4. I love coaching these boys. They are one of the most fun teams I have ever had. They are all great kids and they have so much raw potential.

Eastside Tigers
Head Coach: Andrea Alexander
Roster: Culyer Isenhart, Cody McPeak, Michael Barrett, Eli Cantrell, Christian Davis, Hunter Davis, Caden Duke, Braxten Alexander, Micah Prater and Dallas Roller.


Answers:
1. We are all very excited to start this upcoming season.
2. I think they are all leaders because they have all worked hard together to become one team. I am very excited to see how they have grown.
3. Hard work and determination
4. I love it. I have always had basketball in my life since a very young age and I love being able to help these kids learn and enjoy the game like I always have.


Short Mountain Bears
Head Coach: Shane Hollandsworth
Roster: Luke Alexander, AJ Glenn, Briar Blackman, Eddie Hill, Jordan Timmons, Kyler Bryson, T. Wayne Williams

Answers:
1. Our team is very eager to get going this season. The guys are optimistic about being able to compete. We try to keep them calm and remind them that one game does not make or break the whole season and that each game should be a chance to get better and correct mistakes.
2. Our main leaders are guys with experience, like Luke Alexander and Jordan Timmons. Both are very knowledgeable about the game and skilled in multiple areas. We also have some guys who can fill a stat sheet with hustle, players Eddie Hill and AJ Glenn. However, we have limited depth, and we focus on a team style of play, so every player is important to making us a whole team, and we count on each player to contribute.
3. To challenge for the title, our team must do two things: first continue to develop and grow every day. Players and coaches cannot rest thinking that what we have is good enough. Second, our team must play smart. We cannot pick up unnecessary fouls, lose our heads, or have careless turnovers. We have to know our strengths and weaknesses and play accordingly.
4. I thoroughly enjoy coaching this level of player. It can definitely be frustrating at times because our school has limited enrollment. Many of our players are inexperienced when they get to us; they do not play together in the CCYB league or AAU, so we must constantly develop players and build from the ground up. But this is also the time when you see those breakthroughs, when something finally "clicks" and you see that a player has gotten whatever skill or idea you are showing them. It can be something really special to see the growth of a player from being 9-10 years old to what they become at 13-14, and I love that aspect of this level.

Westside Eagles
Head Coach: Roger Haley
Roster: Brad Phillips, Wade Love, Nathaniel Campbell, Brady Cunningham, James Vassar, Gus Davenport, Braden Emberton, Anthony Bain, Theo Winters, Gage Turner, Ethan Duke and Liam Allen.


Answers:
1. We are very excited. People were looking at us to see what we bounced back with. We have not lost a county game in three years, and this is going into our fourth season. A lot of people were looking at us to see if we were going to have anything left after having a tremendous team that left us. We lost a lot of eighth graders, but these boys are working hard.
2. We teach totally team basketball at Westside. We know there are players that are the backbone of your team. There are players who are the floor generals that run the offense. We try to keep away from that. The girls' team is totally new to us. It lets us figure each other out, and they are pretty well across the board solid. On the boys' side, I got my point guard coming back in Gus Davenport. He has done a really good job of controlling the offense, and getting everybody where they should be. We got the post presence of Wade Love inside. He is one of the best athletes I have seen in a while.
3. It is anybody's ball game on the boy's side. This year there are three good teams that could compete for first place. The girls we are not trying to win a championship right out of the gate. We are building one step at a time. We tell the girls all of the time, we got to take one step and build on it and continue the process. Hopefully, by the end of the season, we will be competitive with some of those teams.
4. I have been coaching for a long time and the kids are wonderful. It is a lot of work coaching two teams, but my enjoyment of coaching these kids in Cannon County. I enjoy what I am doing, the level I am at, and the kids see the light bulb turn on in their head, and say "I can do this." The enthusiasm and enjoyment they have playing the game.


Woodbury Grammar Cubs
Head Coach: Britney Bourgeois
Roster: Duncan Cook, Brady Smith, James Martin, Jacob Parton, Jacob Brock, JR Ferrell, Daylon Dearry, Cordell Howell, Nolan Lovvorn, Neyland Lawarence, Trey Duncan and Hagen Fann.


Answers:
1. We are very excited about this season.
2. Cook, Smith, Parton, Martin and Brock, because this is their year.
3. Hard work and playing all four quarters.
4. Tons of fun.


Woodland Warriors
Head Coach: Kendall Smith
Roster: Austin Powell, Joel Smith, Blake Bush, Trinaty Muse, Brady Bryson, Zachary Basham, Tyler Southworth, Dalton Hale, Michael Lowery, Kolby Duke, Garrett Basham, Jonathan Fann, Ethan Powell, DJ Moore, and Austin Ferrell.


Answers:
1. This team has been working extremely hard and they are very excited to compete for a county championship this upcoming season.
2. We have three returning players from last year's team in Bush, Smith and Bryson. I am looking for these three guys to set the example at practice, in the classroom, as well in games. The leadership and hard work they show will help drive our younger guys into working hard and make this team reach its fullest potential.
3. It will take hard work and determination. It starts by working hard at practice and transitioning that into game nights. Every night we have to go out and play fundamental basketball and play with maximum effort on each and every possession.
4. It is awesome coaching these guys at this level. It is great to watch them grow from day to day, week to week, and year to year as basketball players as well as individuals.

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