HARTSELLE — Hartselle High boys coach Keith Wright is hoping the lessons learned from experience will pay off in the new basketball season.
Wright returns seven seniors from last year's team, which went 13-17 and lost in opening round of the area tournament.
That squad struggled in the transition from football to basketball season, as some games were postponed because of Hartselle's participation in the football playoffs. As a result, Wright's Tigers played 28 basketball games in 60 days.
"I don't think I did a good job of handling this, and they were just physically tired late in the season," Wright said.
The inconsistent Tigers lost seven one-possession games, which Wright attributed to the exhaustion. He plans to do a better job of resting his new team this year.
But that was last year, and this year is starting with the lofty expectations of an experienced team.
"We've got a bunch of seniors and, as long as the seniors step up and do their job, we think we'll do well," senior forward Timbo Slaton said.
Slaton said Wright is expecting high standards of play in practice because he expects more out of the experienced team.
Wright said he will depend on Slaton and guard Preston Adams for scoring.
Wright said guard Deacon Alldridge, the football team's quarterback, brings that football toughness to the court. He didn't play most of last season because of a high-ankle sprain that lingered from football.
Colston Thompson, Maverick Caparas, Thomas Fleischman, Phillip Summerford and Slaton give the Tigers the size they need in their half-court game.
"The kids are very fundamentally sound in the half court," Wright said. "We'll probably only press people if we need to change the flow of the game."
Hartselle is scheduled to open the season Nov. 19 against Austin.
Senior guard Quanesha Burks figures the Lady Tigers have a choice this season.
"It all about how we approach the season," Burks said. "It's our choice on how good we can be."
Hartselle hopes to improve on last season's 12-13 record and quick end in the opening game of the area tournament.
"We could have done better," senior guard Sarah Horner said. "We felt like we let the seniors down. One of our goals this year is to improve our season. Our huge goal to make it to Wallace State (Northwest Regionals)."
A mix of experienced and young players creates optimism in the Hartselle camp. The team is guard heavy with only two post players, Alice Ann Glasgow and Kaylee Shelton.
Burks leads an experience backcourt that includes Melissa Paul Hill, Shaneal Johnson, Allie Roden and Horner.
Senior Kaylee Shelton returns after skipping her junior season. Sophomore Riley Terry is a newcomer who should help the team, Coach Gary Orr said.
"How good we become may depend on how fast our young players mature," Orr said.
The Lady Tigers are scheduled to open the season Nov. 16 at Austin if Hartselle's football season is over. They will play Nov. 21 in a Danville tournament even if the football team is still alive in the playoffs, Orr said.
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