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Red Level committed to season

After making it to the Class 2A sub-regional last year, the Red Level varsity basketball team is looking to build on their success this year.

Red Level coach Fred Kelley said he hopes his team can build on last season’s.

“Every time you have a new season, you’re very optimistic about your chances,” Kelley said. “We were fortunate to get into the playoffs last year and get into the sub-regional. Hopefully, we can build on that. We’ve got six seniors that are good kids that work hard. We’ve also got two juniors and two sophomores.

“So, actually we’ve got 10 varsity and 11 B-team kids,” he said. “They’re committed to the work we’re trying to do everyday. We open up on Nov. 20 at Highland Home and the next night we play Straughn at home, so we’ve got a very tough schedule, but we’re just going to try and get better and better and build on some of the success we had last year.”

“Team chemistry” is one thing that Kelley said the team has to remember in order to be successful this season.

“We’ve got to realize our role and work together,” he said. “We don’t have a superstar here and there, so we’ll just have to rely on each other and what each one’s talents are and build from there.”

Kelley added the seniors on the team already know what areas need improving.

“We’ve got a good group of seniors that really realize what we’ve got to do to overcome the areas we’re weak in,” Kelley said. “They’re excited and we’re working hard. I think the big thing is that we’ll just be realizing everybody’s role in what we’ve got to do.”

The areas last year that Red Level is improving on for this year are on offense and defense.

“Well, one thing is we’ve got to get better on defense and our shot selection,” he said. “We’ve got to be able to handle the pressure. We’re going to have some teams early in the season that are going to come at us with a lot of pressure. That’s really going to have to be a big thing. We’re going to have to be able to handle ball games.”

Kelley said the schedule is spread out in a way where winning at the beginning is essential.

“The Highland game is our first and that’s a game where we have to win and we’re coming back the next night to and play our county rival, Straughn,” Kelley said. “Which Coach (Todd) Reynolds does an excellent job with them. They’re going to be well-coached and disciplined and we’re going to have to be prepared for that.

“Then, you come back Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with the Flomaton tournament and it doesn’t get any easier with Bayside and all of them coming up,” he said. “I’d like, as a coach, to get off to a good start. You’d love to win them, but most of all you want to get better as you go because our area games are the most important, which are right after the Christmas break.”

Kelley said if everything “holds as planned” he will start all five seniors in the first game.

Guards D.J. Sankey, Cale Nolen and Luke Sharp and forwards Matthew Bond and Kyle Nolen will start for the Tigers.

Kelley said that he is confident in the amount of depth his team has this season.

“We’ve got a couple of kids that did not play last year that are out with us this year,” Kelley said. “I think they’re going to be a huge force for us on the depth. I believe we’re going to be all right on depth. We’ve got two juniors, Desmond Jones and Trey Salter, which really have worked hard. I think we’ll be all right depth wise.”

The Tigers’ first game is set for Nov. 20, where they will travel to play Highland Home. The games start with the B-team at 4:30 p.m.