The Gordon Central Warriors enter the 2019 season in search of greater consistency in the 2019 season. Head coach Derrick Broom, entering his third full year at the helm, said GC lost several seniors, but there is a young core in place.
“These kids are really coachable,” Broom said. “They know their roles and they know what they need to do to help us win.”
After finishing 2018-19 at 3-23 and second-to-last in Region 7-AA, Broom said many get entangled in wins and losses.
“People don’t see what we do everyday in practice,” Broom said. “They don’t see what we do outside of practice. That’s what makes coaching enjoyable; seeing what they’re able to do to grow into young men and that’s what we’re trying to do here.”
The 2019 Gordon Central varsity roster figures to be underclassmen heavy, as Broom estimated he might have two or three seniors. In 2018-19, GC had seven seniors.
“We’ve got to get in there and get the younger guys ready,” Broom said. “Get them to learn the system because we’re changing things up this year.”
Broom said the 2019-2020 Warriors are aiming to push the basketball up court, with an emphasis on the transition aspect of the game.
“(We’re going to) try not to let the other team’s defense to set it up, but we’re also going to be able to slow it down and run clock if we need to,” Broom said. “Our biggest goal is to be in shape ... and just keep it close to the fourth quarter. If our guys are in shape like they should be, then we can take over the fourth quarter and finish the game.”
The roster mixes to about average height, with Broom adding the tallest Warrior on the team is 6-foot-4 senior Clayton Hogue. Hogue also played for the football team during the fall.
“We’ve got some decent size, but they just have to learn to use their size to their advantage and then how to be physical down low.”
Broom said an area he’s looking for improvement within his squad is man defense.
“I would like to play (man) more often instead of relying on our zone (defense), but it also goes back to who we’re matched up against,” Broom said. “If we’re playing a bigger, athletic team, it’d be hard for us to play in man.”
Broom said his team’s biggest area of growth is at the guard position.
“We’ve got Montre Henderson ... coming back as a guard,” Broom said. “(He) got a lot of playing time as a guard last year. Sean Gray, who’s a sophomore, is going to get a lot of minutes at the point guard position. He did really well over the summer. We’ve got a few other guys that I’m looking forward to see step up and take that roll.”
Broom said the overarching goal of 2019-20 is ending every game at 1-0, but Broom placed heavy emphasis on tournament play.
“We’ve got to be ready for tournament play because that’s where it’s going to determine if we go to state or not,” Broom said. “We’ve got to be playing our best ball come tournament time.”
The Warriors will travel north of the state line to Gatlinburg and take part in the Smoky Mountain Classic, hosted by Gatlinburg-Pittman High School from Dec. 19-21.
“It’s going to be a very great experience for the kids to get out of Calhoun and go play somewhere where they can stay overnight for a couple of days, so that’s going to be a lot of fun for the guys,” Broom said. “We’re going to see people we’ve never seen before, so we’ll be able to go in with a blank slate ... and we can really work on things.”
Broom said heart plays a crucial factor into the Warriors’ plans for success, even if it does not mean a victory in the record book every night.
“They play hard, they play with heart and they want to win,” Broom said.