The Darlington Tigers showed they have the potential for postseason success last season, earning the right to host a home playoff game by finishing second in their region and advancing to the Sweet 16. Now, they return almost everyone from that squad to see if they can go even further in 2021-22.
The Tigers are back with an experienced squad led by guard Patrick Shelley who averaged a double-double last season as well as being named All-Region and All-State. Head coach Nathan West is heading into his third season at the helm and said he has high expectations for this group, but it will take hard work, especially on the defensive end and the rebounding department to get where they want to go.
Below you will find all the info you need to know in order to get ready for the quickly-approaching season, which begins with a non-region home contest against Fellowship Christian next Tuesday, including a quick snapshot of the Tigers heading into the 2021-22 campaign and an interview with the coach, West.
Head coach: Nathan West (third season)
Last year’s record: 15-9 (advanced to the Class A Private second round)
Starters lost from last season: None
Key players: Patrick Shelley (G, Sr.)
RN-T: How has preseason practice gone so far and what have been the biggest things your team has focused on to get ready for the season?
WEST: Preseason has been going well. We have a good group of young players.
RN-T: What do you feel is an area or areas of strength for your team going into the 2021-22 season and what is an area you feel your team needs to improve the most?
WEST: I believe we do a pretty good job on the defensive end of the court. We preach how good offensive nights come and go, but defense always travels. We are not overly big compared to the other teams in our league so we must do a better job at selling out to attacking the defensive glass…limiting teams to one shot.
RN-T: What are the keys for this year’s team to reach its full potential or, in other words, what are the things your team will hang their hat on in order to have success this season?
WEST: Once again, we must be a 32-minute, high-pressure defensive team. In order for us to reach our full potential, our guys have to be blue collar and get our hands dirty. We have to sell out to the little things…winning all 50-50 balls, diving on all loose balls, taking charges, limiting teams to one shot, finishing possessions, free throws and lay-ups. We must have extreme toughness and show resiliency.
RN-T: What are your overall goals and/or expectations for what your team can accomplish this season?
WEST: Our overall goal, as any other team, is to end the season with a win. Only one team in each classification ends its season with a win. Our expectations are to compete each and every night.