PREPARING FOR THE HARDWOOD: Bulldogs itching to get basketball season started

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, December 5, 2017

With football season in the books, the Andalusia Bulldogs turn their attention to chasing a state title on the hardwood.

“We are going to have to learn on the run with the short turnaround from football season,” Andalusia head coach Anthony Clark said. “That’s a good problem to have to be honest. Success breeds success and I believe that carries over from one sport to another.”

Clark said that the Bulldogs wouldn’t have much time to prepare before they get the season started.

“Although we have some guys returning with experience, we have six new varsity players on our roster,” Clark said. “We will probably play more games than we will have practices, but that’s where the experience should help us. We are meeting today (Monday) for the first time since June 23, but I know these guys will be business like and ready for the challenge.”

The returning experienced players will be crucial when navigating the Bulldogs tough area, Clark said.

“Our area is a tough one, probably the toughest from top to bottom in the state in Class 4A,” Clark said. “That competition gives you confidence in the post season if you can get out of the area. Last season there was a three-way tie for the first at the end of area play. Monroe County has made the Final Four the last two years and made the finals last year. Escambia County returns four starters from last year and they defeated us 75-71 in double overtime in the area tournament. I look for W.S. Neal to be much improved from last year with many of their kids back.”

To prepare for a grueling area, Clark said the Bulldogs have scheduled tougher opponents early in the year.

“We have made our schedule a little more demanding with adding a home/home series with Enterprise and Charles Henderson,” Clark said. “We are also going to Hoover for the Big Orange Classic during Christmas break. Hopefully, these challenges will prepare us for early February.”

One thing Clark said that he wants to continue to see is the support from the Andalusia High School students.

“Our support last year was overwhelming,” Clark said. “The student section at Andalusia has to be one of the best I’ve ever seen. We need those students back and louder than ever. It creates a huge home court advantage when we have them behind us. We have many adults that never miss a game and it’s encouraging to hit the road and see that these folks love Andalusia that much. Many of them don’t have kids playing, but they are there to support our student-athletes. As a coach, I appreciate their faithfulness to be there.”

This year’s varsity Bulldog basketball team will include seniors B.J. Anderson, R.J. Drish, Kendrick English, Trey Wilkerson, Undre Johnson, Ethan Wilson and Curtis Daniels. Juniors include Caleb Williams, Luis Reyes, Keaun Samuel and Roosevelt Weaver.

Andalusia will get the season started on Friday night when they host the Pleasant Home Eagles at Andalusia High School.