Wildcats look for strong year

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 23, 2016

Rashaad Coleman is one of Florala’s standout middle school players.

Rashaad Coleman is one of Florala’s standout middle school players.

The Florala Wildcats’ basketball teams spent the summer working out and improving their game on the hardwood.

“We had about 90 percent participation this summer,” Florala head basketball coach Troy Stewart said. “That was seventh through 12th grade boys and girls, so that was a strong participation rate. That shows me that they want to improve.”

Most of the summer Stewart said the Wildcats spent their time working on their strength and conditioning.

“We played a few games, but for the most part we worked on our conditioning and our strength,” Stewart said. “I saw some good growth from a lot of the players. We still have a young team in both girls and boys, but they are good group of kids.”

Stewart said that the Wildcats also played in a few games on play dates throughout the summer.

“I was glad to be able to take the middle school boys to compete in the Alabama State Games where they did an outstanding job against some very talented teams,” Stewart said. “We were also fortunate to have Andalusia and Opp come over with their junior varsity teams and play us. I think that helped us a lot, and I’m sure it helped them also.”

Stewart said his high school girls also had a few play dates over the summer.

“I took the girls up to play in Troy against some very good teams,” Stewart said. “We didn’t do to well there, but it really helped us a lot. After that we went down to UMS-Wright and practiced and scrimmaged against them, and we looked like a completely different team. We were working together and everything just started clicking.”

The boys’ team was scheduled to play at a camp in Tuscaloosa, but Stewart said they weren’t able to go. Still needing someone to play, Stewart said new Andalusia basketball coach Anthony Clark let them come play against B-team and varsity players in a controlled scrimmage.

“It was great to see great competition like Andalusia,” Stewart said. “I’m very thankful that Coach Clark let us come play. Overall, I was very proud of the way our athletes competed over the summer. They put in a lot of hard work and they will start to see it paying off.”

Over the summer, Stewart said there were many things that the Wildcats improved on, but teamwork was the one that stood out to him the most.

“I was really proud of our teamwork this summer,” Stewart said. “We have a young team and they really came together. That was the biggest thing this summer was just building their confidence in their teamwork.”

With the season a little more the three months away, Stewart said there are still things to improve on.

“We’ve still got work to do,” Stewart said. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement over the past year, but that’s something that has to continue. These players have it in them to succeed, and it’s up to me to bring that out.”