The McClain Tigers varsity basketball team will open their season on December 1 against the Westfall Mustangs in the Zane Trace Tip-off Classic.
The team is coached by Jesse Mitchell who enters his third season as varsity coach.
The Tigers lost five seniors off of the 2016-2017 roster that were major contributors to the program.
“Four of the seniors we lost were starters and all five were in the rotation. Two of them were our leading scorers, two of them were our leading rebounders. So, we lost a lot from last year,” said Mitchell.
McClain returns only two rotation players from last seasons’ squad and Mitchell in sophomore Dalton Mischall and senior Landree Gray.
“We are going to lean on Landree, who is a captain again this year, for leadership. We are going to run some stuff for him offensively this year. He can score and his is athletic and smart. We are definitely going to look to him to pick up alot of the scoring,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell feels that this seasons’ team is quicker defensively than any he has had previously, “Last year we were big and long but, we were not able to guard the ball very well. This year we are a little quicker. Our quickness and our athleticism will be the biggest strength of this team.”
Having a group of players that do not have much experience playing on the varsity level Mitchell believes that this season will be a learning experience for him and his team.
“This is definitely a team that will get better as the season goes. It is going to be a learn as you go season. Hopefully by Christmas time we will be clicking,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell continued to stress that his kids need to get better this season to be successful, “I told the kids that we have to get better as far as goals are concerned. The wins will come if we get better.”
The Tigers’ head coach is happy with the effort he has seen out of many of the players on his team over the summer.
“We don’t have 100% participation in the offseason, and no one does. But, the kids that come do not have to be asked to come. We do not have to tell kids to work hard in the weight room, many of them push themselves,” Mitchell said.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.