Senior Kel Stotts initiates the offense at practice last week while head coach Deron Breeze looks on. Stotts is one of several dangerous scorers suiting up for the Tribe this year.
Football season is over and temperatures are steadily dropping. Days are getting shorter and Christmas decorations are starting to pop up here and there. Basketball has returned, and the Indians take the court tomorrow at Cumberland County for the first contest of the season.
The Adair County High School boys’ varsity team won 21 games a year ago, in head coach Deron Breeze’s first season, but lost to Marion County in the first round of the 20th District Tournament. The Tribe returns almost everyone and has added another talented guard to the mix in senior Kel Stotts, who transferred back to Adair County after playing the last three seasons in Russell County, so hopes are high.
“We have high expectations entering this year after a disappointing end to last season,” Breeze says. “We return over 6,000 career points on the high school level so we should be able to score with anyone, as long as we put our individual egos aside and take good shots.”
Seniors Chance Melton and Cameron Lasley – along with junior Corey Melton – each averaged more than 15 points per game for Adair last year, and Stotts’ presence on the perimeter only enhances the scoring options. Senior point guard Jordan Lasley is expected to be the man distributing the ball, but he’s battled lingering football injuries throughout the preseason, and could miss a few games early on. Senior forward Dylan Feese was the Indians’ sixth man last year, and figures to feature prominently again this year, providing size down low and a formidable shooting stroke.
Like last year, the Indians will try to overwhelm teams with their athleticism, playing at a fast pace on offense and applying pressure and forcing turnovers on defense. Breeze hopes to see continued improvement in those aspects. “Our biggest weakness right now is our physical and mental toughness,” Breeze says. “Too many times we get down and want to point fingers rather than figure out a way to fight back.”
One area where Adair expects to improve greatly is depth, with several underclassmen pushing to earn minutes. “We should be a lot deeper,” says assistant coach Daniel Hedges. “[Sophomores] Layndon Carter and Anthony Payne are both really good offensive players, and their defense is coming on.” Others vying for court time include senior forward Chris Abston, junior guard Hunter Cundiff, and sophomore forward Devin Richardson.
The fate of this season is yet to be determined, but the pieces are set for a successful campaign. “If we defend and rebound and don’t turn the ball over, we will accumulate a lot of wins” Breeze says. “We have to get out of district first then hope for a good draw in region and see what happens. We have to stay healthy.”
The Tribe’s first home game will be this coming Friday, Dec. 2, against Green County. Tipoff is 7 p.m. Check back tomorrow for a preview of James Turner’s Lady Indians.
Layndon Carter goes up for a three in practice last Tuesday while fellow sophomore Anthony Payne watches from the wing. Both underclassmen will be expected to provide instant offense and backcourt depth this season.