Heritage Varsity Boys Basketball 2012-21013 Season Preview
By David Grindstaff
As the Mountain Heritage varsity boy's basketball team prepares to open the 2012-13 season, it is easy to see why a sense of optimism flows throughout the program.
Under the leadership of first-year Head Coach Hank Newson, who led West Caldwell to a conference championship and a 19-7 record last season, the Cougars return five lettermen - including two starters - and add some very talented players up from an undefeated junior varsity team from a year ago. Added together and you have a mixture of experience and raw talent.
“I think the basketball talent and basketball mindset of Yancey County is in a great position,” Coach Newson said after watching his kids compete last week in scrimmage games with T.C.Roberson and Cherokee.
“ The kids work hard and are willing to be coached. The support here is tremendous and I am looking forward to seeing the gym packed full of Green on Tuesday and Friday Nights.”
With the team's top two scorers gone from last season, fans may wonder where the scoring will come from. Returning starters, seniors Tim Hensley, a 6-1 wing player, and 6-8 center Bob Taylor are expected to contribute offensively in the backcourt and frontcourt, respectively.
Coach Newson said that 6-2 sophomore guard Avery Austin, 5-10 junior guard Grant Buckner, 6-7 forward Will Buckner, 6-3 junior forward Drew Hoilman, and 5-9 senior guard Brandon Brown, all will have to play significant minutes for Heritage this season for the Cougars to be successful.
However, Newson is confident that the entire offensive output will not come from just those two returning starters. “Our bench will be very important to our success this season and our depth should be an advantage for us” Newson said.
Defense has been a point of emphasis for the Cougars since the end of the 2011-12 season. “Defensively, we need to compete on every possession, and understand how to contain the other team. We are getting better every day at both,” Newson added.
The Cougars also will be boosted by the return of several athletes from a year ago. Big things are expected from seniors Lucas King and Zack Brown as well as juniors Jake McClellan, Jackson Hockaday, Blake Elkins and Kaleb McCurry coming off the bench.
Coach Newson learned some things about his ballclub in scrimmage games at Roberson and Cherokee last week. “We played well in both scrimmages and we learned a lot about who we are and the things we need to get better at in order to compete. I think we got what we needed to out of both games,” Newson said of the team’s pre-season contest.
“We need to improve our execution on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball,” Newson said. He added that offensively, “the kids need to understand patience, shot selection, and how to attack defenses to get the shot we want.”
Heritage competed in its first regular season game on Monday night at Erwin. The Cougars will host their first home game on November 27 against North Buncombe. Come out and show your support!