Jumping into a new region with new team personnel is never the easiest thing to do, but Rockmart High School’s varsity basketball teams are navigating the situation as best as they can.
Both squads are now in Region 6-3A, which includes traditionally strong programs like LaFayette, Sonoraville and Coahulla Creek on the girls’ side, and LaFayette’s boys, who went to the Class 4A Final Four a year ago after winning its region’s title.
“There will be no easy wins on the schedule. We have to play our best each night,” Rockmart boys’ coach Vic Calhoun said.
The start of the season has provided good and bad moments for both squads. The Lady Jackets are 1-3 and 1-2 in region play after picking up their first win Saturday night at home in a solid 71-43 victory over Adairsville.
Senior Keyarah Berry is in the final season of a storied career after becoming Rockmart’s all-time leading scorer last season while helping the Lady Jackets to the Class AA Final Four and a 23-7 record. She signed to play for Indiana University just before the season started.
Rockmart’s perimeter play continues to be its strength with Berry and Megan Little leading the way as well as junior Logan Adams. Brandi Jones adds qualities on defense and rebounding.
Rockmart girls’ coach Andre Clark said it will be important for the team to build up its defense this season after the loss of Anbria Daniels and Emma Evans to graduation, and to develop the younger players who will need to contribute this season and in the future.
“We have a ton of ninth graders that I believe will make an impact this season,” Clark said. “We also have players returning from last season who didn’t play a ton but I expect to be more impactful this year.”
Among the younger crop are Analee Morris, Lauryn Clark, Sky Myers, Emma Hindmon, Emma Scott, and Zori Williams. Returning players include Aubrey Huggins, Anna Claire Sides, Maggie Jo Gentry, and Taylor Davis.
Rockmart’s boys got a slightly better start to the season when they traveled to Villa Rica on Nov. 21 for the season opener and defeated the 5A squad 91-79. Freshman Treylin Davis and 6-foot-9 junior Damian Horton led all scorers with 22 points. Seniors Luke Noland (15), Cody Williams (13) and Rhyan Carter (9) also contributed to the win.
Calhoun said the Jackets’ strength will be their seniors and depth this season, with guys like Sherman Davis, Javin Whatley and Noland returning starters from last year’s region champion and Class AA Elite Eight team.
“These are seniors that will be leaders throughout the year. They all can contribute on both ends of the floor and will be integral to our success this year,” Calhoun said.
Davis hit the game-winning shot on Saturday as Rockmart hosted region foe Adairsville and pulled out a 62-60 win to improve to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in Region 6-3A. Jakari Clark finished with 12 points, while Davis had 10 total points.
“We have 10-12 guys we are comfortable starting each night. With that kind of depth practices are naturally more competitive and it presents much more opportunity in games to play at a relentless pace and have multiple options for strategy,” Calhoun said.
Both Rockmart teams are back in action Tuesday, Dec. 15, at home to take on Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe. Girls tip off at 6 p.m. while the boys will follow. They then travel to Ringgold on Friday before the winter break starts. The Lady Jackets have a game at Sonoraville on Tuesday, Dec. 22.