After losing Stratton Lovvorn and Trace Broiles to graduation and with returning starter Maki Fleming sidelined to start the season, Coach Robbie Davis says his version of the 2022-23 Community …
After losing Stratton Lovvorn and Trace Broiles to graduation and with returning starter Maki Fleming sidelined to start the season, Coach Robbie Davis says his version of the 2022-23 Community Vikings should be an interesting team to follow.
"We've got a whole different group this year than what we've had in the past," Davis said. "We lost Stratton and Trace from last year's crew and we're going to be without Maki for most of the season probably. We're a young, young group."
"We've got a different team than I've had in the past, we're just built a little different," Davis added. "We've got more guards than posts, which is unusual. We're playing a different way than we have in the past."
With the need to replace what was lost to graduation and injury, Davis knows this team will have to grow up quickly.
"A lot of these kids at this time last year were playing JV," Davis said. "We're not really behind, but a lot of these kids have just never played together."
"The first part of the season is going to be getting to know each other, playing together, and finding combinations that work well together," Davis added.
"We'll start two sophomores, possibly three depending on the matchups and who we're playing," Davis said. "We're going to be as young as we've been in about four or five years."
The Vikings will need to find out the players that will put the ball in the basket.
"We've got to figure out who's going to score," Davis said. "Stratton averaged 25 or 26 but any night might hit 40 and get 15 rebounds. We don't have Maki, our second leading scorer."
"We've got points that have to be made up by somebody, and we've got to figure out who those guys are going to be," Davis added.
As the season evolves, Davis knows there will be plenty of ups and downs.
"It will be fun at times, it will be frustrating at times," Davis said. "But it's one of those seasons where hopefully from what it looks like at the beginning, you will see a lot of progress by the time you get to the end."
As in seasons past, Davis plans to use the non-district games to gear up for the district slate.
"Our schedule is pretty diverse," Davis said. "We open up with Fayetteville City, one of the more athletic teams in our area.
Jackson County has a system they run with a lot of good defenses and set plays that you're not used to seeing."
"We're going to get a feel by the different types of teams we play early," Davis added. "It's a good mix to see where we're at before we get into district play starting in January."
"It'll be a fun November and December for sure."
The Vikings will participate for the second of two seasons in District 7-AA with Cascade, Forrest, and Grundy County.
Community will play a total of six Friday night district games, with all district games played after the first of the year.
The Vikings may not have far to travel for their district and region tournament games.
The district tournament will be played at Forrest, while the semifinal and final rounds of the Region 4-AA tournament will be hosted by the Vikings.
"It's always nice not having to travel and worrying about all the logistics of that," Davis said.
"Having the district tournament right down the road at Forrest and having the region tournament here will be nice."
"This is the last time we'll be in this district with this group and this region," Davis added. "We hope we wrap up by playing our best basketball in February."
Davis says the Vikings will have to handle two extremes during the season.
"If we can avoid injuries and sickness, we've got a lot of young kids that could be pretty good basketball players," Davis said. "It's going to depend if they're willing to show up every day at practice and improve."
"There's going to be games where things just don't go well," Davis added. "They've got to learn how to handle failure when things don't go your way."
"Handing success is one thing and handling failure is another."
Community starts off the season with Hall of Champions contests against Fayetteville and Jackson County.
The Vikings will play familiar non-district opponents Eagleville, Huntland, and Central Magnet in addition to their district schedule.