Straughn falls at Shootout, focuses on area

Published 11:59 pm Monday, December 15, 2008

Straughn continues to struggle this season after an unsuccessful run at its second annual Straughn Christmas Shootout.

“We still have a ways to go,” Straughn coach Todd Reynolds said. “You just can’t replace the experience that I lost that easy. That’s where we’re at right now.

“Personnel wise, I have good personnel, but there is just no substitute for the leadership and experience I lost from last year. There’s only one cure for that and that is time. That’s where we’re at right now.”

Straughn (3-4) and Red Level met up Saturday night in the final game of the consolation bracket, with Red Level pulling out the win, 57-45.

Reynolds said he is still putting together a consistent group of players that he can rely on during the remainder of the season.

“I’m still trying to find my base unit,” he said. “That means my starting five that are going to be consistent for me day in and day out. I have yet to find five that can cohesively work together.

“Opponents keep finding that one and exploiting them whether it be offense or defense,” he said. “They find that weak link on defense and that’s where they attack and they find that weak link on offense and attack it.”

Reynolds said it will take a lot of repetition to build that cohesiveness.

“I’ve just got about narrowed down on what group seems to have the best chemistry,” he said. “From that, then it becomes a reps issue. That’s what I hope to get in this week and next week to get that group narrowed down and getting them a bunch of reps together so they can start producing results.”

Reynolds added that his team still has a “tough” road ahead.

“We’re playing a very hard schedule,” he said. “Adding Georgiana and Red Level again, we’re playing teams that have over 30 wins. We’ve played Red Level twice and they’re 8-3, Brantley is 6-2, Georgiana is 7-1 and New Brockton is 7-2.

“There is nobody weak there,” he said. “We’ve beaten Florala and McKenzie. We’ve shown we can beat one of these tough teams and we’ve also beaten New Brockton. But, we lost by two to Florala and by seven to Red Level once. It’s going to come around, but it’s going to be tough.”

Reynolds said there is still time for the team to get on the right track before area play begins in January.

“That is always the goal and hope that all this is headed towards a blooming process in January,” Reynolds said. “So, that’s why you don’t get too frantic in the early games, but you’re still trying to get them to go in the direction you want them to go in.”

In the championship game of the shootout, Georgiana and Brantley met and went into double overtime. Georgiana pulled out the victory 78-76.

Although his team failed to win the tournament, Reynolds said the quality of overall play in the games was second-to-none.

“It was an excellent tournament,” he said. “We had three games that went into overtime. The margin of victory in many of the games was less than double digits. You had a lot of close games.

“Most of the teams said that they would be returning, so we have the groundwork for next year’s tournament,” he said. “We will be holding it again next year and adding more teams in the line up to make it more compelling.”

The 2008 Straughn Christmas Shootout all tournament team is Georgiana’s Lacory Savage (tournament MVP) who averaged 18 points per game and 14 rebounds per game, Georgiana’s Victor Marshall and Jerrod Lee, Red Level’s Cale Nolen and Matthew Bond, Straughn’s Bryan Walker and James Byrd, New Brockton’s Justin Flowers and Shambray Johnson, Kinston’s Hunter Anderson and McKenzie’s Calvin Henderson.