The Troup Tigers found themselves in just about every game they played last season.
The problem was, they had a difficult time finishing.
Because of their inability to win close games, the Tigers finished with a losing record during the 2013-2014 season, and they ended up missing the state tournament after losing in the first round of the Region 5-AAAA tournament.
This summer, the Tigers are working hard to make sure the 2014-2015 season is a much better one.
Paul Brewer has returned for his second season as the team’s head coach, and for the first time he’ll have a full offseason to work with his players.
Brewer didn’t get a chance to do much with the players last summer, but this year he has been working closely with them.
“We’ve got 21, 22 kids in the building,” Brewer said. “They’re not all here every day. It’s the summer time. But we’ve got a pretty good group. At least we feel like we’re going to have a plan together. The kids understand what we’re doing.”
The Tigers did some things well last season, especially on the defensive end where they did a nice job of slowing down the opposition.
The Tigers had some major offensive struggles, though, and the lack of offensive production was a key reason they finished 6-16.
Jamal Wilkerson, who’ll be one of the top returning players, was an explosive offensive player, but if he was having a tough time from the field, the Tigers struggled to score.
“We thought we were close last year, we just couldn’t score,” Brewer said. “If you’d told me before the season started we’d go over to Fayette and hold them in the 50s, you’re going to hold Carrollton in the 50s, I’d have felt we’d have a pretty good season.”
Brewer is hoping things will go differently next season, and he believes the summer will help, as will having a full year of his strength and conditioning program.
“The basketball kids had never been in the weight room. You can’t win like that,” Brewer said. “We’ve got kids that look better already. They’re down there and putting the time in.”
Brewer said the team is working this summer to implement the style of play he wants.
He said there won’t be much height on the team, so he figures for the Tigers to compete with some rugged teams in Region 5-AAAA, they can’t get involved in half-court style games.
With the lack of height, Brewer said it will be all about “moving and running. We’ll have to up-tempo it.”
Brewer added that “we can’t play half-court, or those kinds of teams will beat you to death.”
The Tigers will continue to play games throughout June, and they’ll get together at the school for daily workouts and practices.