With a new basketball season set to get under way, Miners head basketball Coach Mark Smith is stressing two things to his team as they prepare for their first game.
“We talk about it all the time in practice – effort and execution,” Smith said. “No matter what sport you play, those are the two key works that everyone looks to try and find. “
Last season, Bauxite finished one game under .500 with an overall record of 14-15.
“We were pretty successful last season. We made the regional tournament, which is obviously a goal. We finished fourth in a really tough conference,” Smith said. “We were really proud of our guys and the way they played.”
Bauxite will take the court this year without its leading scorer from a year ago, Cody McPherson, who led the Miners in scoring with nearly 21 points per game. Smith knows there is a void to fill and is counting on a team effort to chip in.
“He’s going to be really hard to replace, but we’re not really looking to replace him, we’re just trying to patch the hole,” Smith said. “We won’t look to one person to fill up the scoring, but it can be distributed among everyone else and all five can collectively pick up the scoring slack.”
“We’re going to move some people around and Hunter Holder is going to try and take over his point guard spot. We hope that he can be as steady as what Cody was,” Smith added.
A new-look Region 7 will bring Arkansas Baptist, Central Arkansas Christian, and Arkadelphia into conference play. With the addition of these schools, Smith is aware of the work cut out for him and his team.
“They are all going to really admirable opponents. All three have basketball traditions and are going to make a tough conference even tougher,” Smith said. “You’re talking about a really athletic conference.”
Bauxite finished last season with a 2-8 record over its final ten games. This year, Smith is stressing the importance of being consistent on a daily basis.
“We have to be consistent and that’s something that we tell our guys everyday. We may have one good practice, or two good practices, and then we have a really bad one,” Smith said. “We don’t want to take two steps forward and one step back. You can’t do that and be a good team.”
“You’re not ever going to be perfect, you just want your guys to be able to know what to do once adversity hits. And it’ll hit regardless of how good or bad you are,” Smith added.
Moreover, Smith is counting on the guys who were young last year to step up and use their experience from a year ago to their advantage. Smith noted how they lost several overtime games last year and is hoping that was somewhat of a building block for them going forward.
In order to do so, the Miners will need to be able to handle their emotions in good times and in the bad.
“We always tell our guys to ride out the high’s and low’s and don’t get caught up in either one,” Smith said. “Try to stay even keel.”
With the season just around the corner, Bauxite is anxious to tip off its 2012-13 season on the right note.
“I think that we’re all ready to get things going. We’ve been practicing for a long time,” Smith said. “I’ve been lucky enough to have the majority of our team in the gym since school has started. The guys are tired of practicing and are ready to play.”