Prep Basketball: Lincoln County boys still relying on youth
Lincoln County¿s Luke Hill (41) averaged 14 points and 7 rebounds last year and earned All-Area honors for the Patriots. (Clay Jackson / November 19, 2012)
Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson relied on several freshman to be key contributors last season, now he hopes throwing them into the fire early will help pay off with more wins this season.
“We have two seniors, two juniors. The rest are ninth and 10th graders,”¿Jackson said. “So we’re still relatively young, but we’ve got some kids that have played, so we have some experience.
“We’ll have our ups and downs, and I’m sure there are going to be days where we’ll play really well and we’ll look really good, and then there will be days when we look like we’ve got a bunch of young kids out there playing.
“The schedule is the toughest we’ve had in my 10 years here. It’s a huge challenge for this team. We’ve got to be coachable, and they’ve got to be willing to listen and take constructive criticism the proper way.”
While young, the one player the Patriots have that has been around a while is two-time All-Area pick Luke Hill. The 6-3 senior center averaged 14 points and 7 rebounds per game, handed out 2 assists per game and tied for the area’s best shooter at 64 percent from the floor.
“Luke is a three-year starter and one of the captain. And if he stays healthy, he’ll have a chance to go well over 1,000 (points),”¿Jackson said. “He’s been a really good player and provides us with a solid foundation in the paint and on both sides of the floor.”
Junior guard Josh Sims and junior center Kody Cornelius join senior Shade Jacobs
“Shade will see some minutes, and Josh and Kody should make contributions, and Kody has gotten a lot stronger,”¿Jackson said.
Sophomores Timmy Taylor, Jacob Conway and Brandon Pittman saw a lot action as freshmen and
“We are counting on all three of those kids to have really good years for us,”¿Jackson said.
Also, sophomores B.J. Hoover and Neil Conley are also expected to step in an play for the Patriots, which Jackson said they are perfectly capable of
“We’ve go a really good sophomore class, a deep class. Then throw in Dalton Godbey and Connor Patterson and Logan Sears. And we’ve got a freshman class that has talent,”¿Jackson said.
Keys to the season
Jackson said the key will be how his young team handles adversity.
“When things go well it pretty easy to be good,” he said. “But do you have toughness and focus to stay together as a team and fight through those tough times and try to improve and develop.”
Player to Watch
Jackson is really counting on Taylor, a 5-9 guard to take over the point and emerge as a team leader.
“Timmy has been our most vocal kid. Timmy likes to win. When he practices well and he bring energy to the table, we have good practices,”¿Jackson said. “If he comes in and doesn’t have the energy level we need from him on a consistent day to day basis, our practices aren’t as good. You usually go as your point guard goes, and he’s got the ball in his hands most of the time and he’s got to bring it every day and not do the things that’s not a strength of his.