Bulldogs excited to hit the court

Published 11:55 pm Monday, November 10, 2008

A week from today, the Andalusia Bulldogs varsity basketball team will take the court at home against Elba to start the 2008-09 season.

Last year, the Bulldogs finished with an overall record of 17-8 and were 5-1 in Class 4A, Area 2 play.

Head coach Richard Robertson said the team is made up of the same players that played last year.

“We’ve basically got the same players we had last year,” Robertson said. “The thing is I’m disappointed in some of our development. We were young and we’re still young. I expect them to improve a whole lot this year.

“Some are in the same position they were in when we left last year,” he said. “You take right now, we’ve practiced more in the last week. We’ve put in about seven to eight practices. We didn’t get to do that last year because we played football for so long. The year before last we didn’t get to play nine ball games because we went so deep and some teams didn’t want to mess up their schedule.”

After the football season wrapped up last year, Robertson said the team “struggled” to make up for those games that were not played.

“We played two days after we lost in the third round of the playoffs last year in football,” he said. “We struggled a little bit and got on a roll. We were 16-4 at one time and with seven ball games at the end, we lost five of them.

“Sickness and injuries hit us and one or two had to be disciplined,” Robertson said. “We’re not going to let that affect us. We’re going to take the ones that do things the way I want them done.”

In order to be successful this year, Robertson said the team must play better on defense and play smarter basketball.

“They love to play the game, but we’ve got to play it the fundamental way,” Robertson said. “We got beat by the little things and we had missed free throws in crucial situations and missed shots and lay-ups.”

At practice, players are running through the fundamentals because Robertson said that still needs improving.

“Fundamentals are killing us and that’s what we’re doing right now,” he said. “We haven’t done a thing team wise, everything we’re working on is fundamentals. You can put a team system together in two or three days, but skill development is ongoing.”

Robertson said the games that are the most important this year are the area games.

“We’re going to start off real strong,” he said. “We won our area last year, but then we lost by three points (in the playoffs). Our youth were against our opponent’s strength.”

Robertson added that starters for this season’s team have yet to be determined and more than likely he will know by next Monday.

As far as depth on the team, Robertson said “we don’t have it right now.”

“The young ones, I’ll play them down and we’ll play one team and then I’ll bring them up,” he said. “You don’t sit your young ones down, you’ve got to play them.”

Robertson said the team has not established any goals at the moment and that it will take time to figure that out.

“Right now, this is the first time I‘ve had them all this early,” Robertson said. “Now, we practiced six days a week in an effort to overcome our diversities and work on our fundamentals and ball handling. Last year, we had 19 to 20 turnovers a game and still won 18 ball games.

“If you cut that down, we lost two or three ball games by missing free throws at the end,” he said. “We’d love to say that we’re going to win 20, but we want to win them all.”