The Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs are a senior heavy team for the 2015-2016 season with a total of nine players set to graduate after this year. Devin Pierson, Josh Goble, Josh Ahrmann, Brandon Storer, Morgan Ryan, Christian Inman, Zach Blankenship, Tyler Barton, and Noah Scott, according to head coach Matt Carson, have brought quite a bit of leadership to the team over the summer and so far this season.
“The seniors have been great leaders in practice and scrimmages thus far,” said coach Carson. “We believe in ‘service’ as our team motto, and the seniors have been doing their best to give back to the younger kids and to the community. Going forward, they are laying the groundwork for what I envision the program to look like for many years to come. Hard work, accountability, commitment and dedication. They and the other players on the team embody these qualities that we all strive to have in the program. They are fine young men who will all be great leaders in society someday.”
The Mustangs were a solid group to contend with last season and with another season under their belt, people familiar with the Southern Hills Athletic Conference (SHAC) look for them to be that again. Coach Carson and his players are aware of the expectations of his team but plan to take it one day at a time.
“We know that there are expectations among people in our conference and in our community to do well,” said Carson. “The other day at practice I told the kids we need to ask ourselves every day, ‘What do we want to accomplish today?’ We are striving to get better every day and what others expect of us pales in comparison to what we expect out of each other every day, and that is to give our best effort and to represent Lynchburg-Clay with the best we can.
“All players on the roster are returning players in the program from a year ago. Noah Scott, a senior, came back out again for his senior year and we are glad to have his leadership and work ethic on the team. Everyone on this team has led in different ways thus far. The seniors have taken it upon themselves to push the rest, as this will be their last go round at basketball. The underclassmen have picked up on that and have been encouragers and worked hard as well. We all lead in some ways on this club, and it’s a unified leadership by accountability system that we’ve adopted.”
The Mustangs will continue to be a fast paced, push the ball offense, but have also adapted a ‘one more’ philosophy when it comes to passing. Simply put, making sure that they aren’t forcing a shot and trying to make that one more pass for a better look. Coach Carson also says they have simplified their defense so they can focus on being better at it.
“This year we still want to push the ball in transition and look for the open man,” Carson said. “Offensively we have done a great job of moving the ball around and finding the open guy for the shot. We have a lot of people on this team that can shoot within given areas of the court, and we’ve done a great job of adopting the “one more” philosophy on passing. We had a group last year who, a majority of them, saw important varsity minutes for the first time in their careers. A season and summer under their belts have allowed them all to get a better grasp for the game and has allowed more fluidity offensively. Defensively, we’ve cut down on the number of things we’re doing and focused on getting better in the quarter court. We weren’t as good as I would’ve liked us to be defensively last year, and that’s on me; we’re going back to the basics and sticking to good, solid, fundamental defense. I believe thus far that has been the difference maker; if we continue to adopt the defensive identity we should have a successful year and have a chance to compete for a league title and hopefully more.
“We have played a challenging scrimmage slate this season and summer that has hopefully prepared us to be the best we can be at the end of the season. We want to get better as the year goes on and make a run in the tournament; division III is tough in our district and we know in order to reach our goals we have to play the best competition we can.”
Lynchburg’s non-conference games will consist of Western Brown (division I), Miami Trace, Waverly, McClain and Hillsboro (division II), Paint Valley, Southeastern, and Zane Trace (division III), and Fayetteville (division IV).
“It has been fun getting ready for the season and I know the players are as anxious as I am to get the season started,” Carson said in closing. “I want them to take it one day at a time and enjoy the ride. High schools sports are a microcosm in the big picture of life, and the work and dedication they’ve shown will undoubtedly help them all as they become successful young men in life. We want to represent this community to the best of our abilities on a nightly basis.”
Reach Robert Stegbauer at 937-393-3456 ext. 1679 or on Twitter @RStegbauer.