Wildcats ready for 2008 season

Published 7:25 pm Friday, November 14, 2008

Next Monday night, the Florala Wildcats will start a new basketball season as they host Samson.

After graduating eight seniors off last year’s team, the Wildcats have three seniors returning with additional players coming off the B-team this year.

Head coach Brad Garner said the team’s work ethic is concentrated on the basics leading into Monday night’s game.

“We’re really just trying to install some things that are going to help a different group of kids to be successful,” Garner said. “We’re working hard on fundamentals. It’s going to take a few games for us to sort of find our identity and find out what’s successful for us with a new group of kids. I’ve just got to try and help them figure that out.

“We really don’t know who our leading scorer is going to be or expect to be or who’s going to be that go to guy and shut them down,” he said. “We have an idea in practice, but we really won’t know until we throw it out on the floor on Monday night and see.”

Garner said the team has two key needs in order to be successful this season.

“The No. 1 thing we’ve got to do offensively is execute,” he said. “We’re different and every team is different and I think the strength that this team is going to have to look toward is to be able to get shots off of passes and not try to depend so much on individuals creating the shot. That’s something that takes time and it’s something that’s going to have to improve as the season progresses.

“We’ve had two weeks since the end of the football season and you can’t expect that timing and execution to be there just yet, but we’ve got to continue to work on it,” he said. “As I say with any team I ever coach, ever have coached or ever will coach is that we’ve got to defend and to create some things through defense.”

On what games are the most important, Garner said it’s obvious.

“Area games, flat out area games,” Garner said. “As far as I’m concerned in basketball, everybody is in the playoffs because everybody gets to play in an area tournament. I think the seeding for that area tournament is the most important thing you’ve got to accomplish during the regular season.”

Garner added that Florala has a goal of hosting the area tournament.

“Your goal is to be able to host the area tournament, to be able to win the regular season area,” he said. “If not, you don’t want to be in that four spot having to play the top seed in the first round. It’s just flat out those six area games in January are what we look forward to.”

Garner said “depth” is an issue for the team based on the number of players he will dress out this season.

“Depth is a problem for us,” Garner said. “We’ll dress eight people on varsity this year so it’s going to be an issue we’re going to have to face. We’re going to have to learn to play smart and not get in foul trouble.

“That’s something we can control and we’re hoping we can get through the season healthy and not get any injuries, which is something we can’t control,” he said. “But, it if it happens than we’ll have to attack it and deal with it when it happens.”

The Wildcats open their regular season next Monday night against Samson. The games start at 4:30 p.m. with the B-team.