BULLDOGS STILL GROWING: No. 2-ranked Andalusia has room to improve

Published 12:05 am Thursday, December 22, 2016

The No. 2-ranked Andalusia Bulldogs (9-0) have been on a roll to start the 2016-2017 AHSAA basketball season, but head coach Anthony Clark said there is still plenty of improvements he wants to see from his hoop squad.

With a good portion of the players also on this year’s semi-final football team, the Bulldogs didn’t get a lot of time to prepare for their opening games.

“We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare,” Clark said. “For nine of these guys, they have been going since April. I’m not sure a lot of people realize the kind of dedication it takes to be a multi-sport athlete.”

Clark said that it takes tremendous dedication for athletes to play multiple sports, but that the coaches and administration at Andalusia do everything they can to make it easier.

“Coach (Trent) Taylor and I worked together over the summer and put our weight lifting programs together,” Clark said. “Know we all have the same program and it that makes it easier on the kids.”

Clark said that the other coaches at Andalusia High School go out of their way to cheer on at other Bulldog sporting events.

“This is a very special place to be,” Clark said of Andalusia High School. “The coaches all support each other, and I’ve been to a lot of places and I can tell that isn’t always the case. Tuesday night, our entire football coaching staff had been Auburn at football practice, but drove home early to come to our game. When I looked down there and saw them sitting there knowing that they had been in Auburn all day, I just wanted everyone to know how special that was.”

The Bulldogs will take a few days off from playing games, but they will still be getting after it in the weight room over the Christmas break.

“We met this morning (Wednesday) for a scheduled weight lifting session at 8:30, and by 8:20 they had already gotten started,” Clark said. “They want to put in the work and it has shown. I told them that you can guarantee that whoever wins Class 4A this year will be in the weight room this week.”

After the workout, Clark said the Bulldogs just enjoyed each others company.

“We got finishing working out and then we had a little shoot around session,” Clark said. “After that we all went to breakfast together. I think it’s important for us to spend some time together not talking about basketball. Things like that just help you grow as a team.”

Clark said that while he has been pleased with the Bulldogs start it’s far from where they want to finish.

“We have been getting better,” Clark said. “Right now, I think we are struggling with a little mental fatigue more than physical fatigue. These kids have really bought into what we are tying to do on defense, and guys are buying into their roles. They realize that not everyone can be the leading scorer. Guys like Jaden Brown and Curtis Daniels have been huge for us so far. For me, Curtis was the biggest reason we beat T.R. Miller because of the way that he went after the ball.”

The Bulldogs will be back in action on Dec. 27, at 4:30 p.m., when they take on Carroll in the 19th annual Red Level Christmas Tournament.