In his first year at the helm of the LCMS boys seventh and eighth grade basketball teams, head coach and LCHS alum Daniel McCrary is hoping to instill lessons that will help his players on and off the court.
“Obviously our main goal is to win a championship every year, but athletics is so much more than just winning or losing,” said McCrary. “We want our guys to not only be great basketball players, but we want them to succeed in every aspect of their lives from the court, to the classroom and out in the community. In terms of basketball, we are focusing on growing as players and developing their skill sets to be the best basketball players they can be.”
Behind McCrary’s guidance, the seventh grade Indians began the 2019-2020 season with a 1-2 record and the eighth grade Indians got off to a 2-1 start.
The seventh grade boys basketball team suffered its first loss of the season in its season opener versus the White County Warriors at the LCMS gymnasium on Monday, Nov. 4.
Despite solid efforts from several Indian players, Lumpkin couldn’t find enough offensive firepower to outdo the Warriors. The result was a 46-29 loss to open the 2019-2020 season.
The seventh grade team followed its season-opening loss by traveling to Union County to battle it out with the Panthers on Tuesday, Nov. 11.
The Indians held their own versus Union County, but were unable to pull out the victory against the Panthers. The Panthers were able to hold on to a late lead to emerge victorious 34-24, handing Lumpkin its second loss of the season.
Cal Faulkner and Noah Caldwell led the offense for the Indians in the game, scoring a team high eight points apiece versus the Panthers. Will Purdy contributed three points in the defeat.
Despite the 0-2 record, McCrary and his players weren’t discouraged when they met up with the Pickens County Dragons at the LCMS gymnasium on Thursday, Nov. 14, and put in a solid team performance to earn their first win of the young season.
The Indians held off the Dragons for the majority of the contest and earned themselves a 40-33 win behind strong performances from Caldwell, Faulkner and Gerald Walker.
Caldwell led the Indians with 11 points in the victory. Both Faulkner and Walker knocked down nine points against the Panthers and TJ Gaddis added six points.
The win improved the LCMS seventh grade boys basketball team’s overall record to 1-2.
While the seventh grade boys basketball team got off to a slow start, the eighth grade team began the 2019-2020 with two straight wins against White and Union counties before dropping a close game versus Pickens County to earn itself a 2-1 overall record.
The Indians overpowered White County in its season opener at the LCMS gymnasium on Monday, Nov. 4, allowing Lumpkin to pick up a lopsided 31-18 victory.
Lumpkin followed the win over White County by traveling to Union County on Tuesday, Nov. 11, to face off with the Panthers.
The game proved to be a back-and-forth affair for much of the four quarters of play, but the Indians would score just enough to secure a 41-29 win and improved to 2-0 on the season.
Will Wood led the charge for Lumpkin in the win, dropping 11 points on Union County. Preston Cox had a solid game, scoring 10 points, and Harper Davenport contributed nine points in the victory
With two wins already under their belts, the Indians took to the court at the LCMS gymnasium on Thursday, Nov. 14, to square off with the Pickens County Dragons.
The Indians struggled to score in the first quarter of play, but kept themselves within striking distance behind solid defensive play. The Dragons held a 5-3 advantage going into the second quarter.
The Indians mounted a rally in the second quarter and evened the score at 10-10 going into the halftime break with a 7-5 run.
The sluggish offenses for both teams continued to struggle to knock down baskets in the third quarter. Lumpkin outscored the Dragons 4-3 in the quarter to take a 14-13 advantage into the final quarter of the game.
The fourth quarter turned out to be the most productive quarter for both teams. The Dragons dropped 17 points in the final quarter to outscore the Indians 17-12. The productive quarter for Pickens allowed the Dragons to pull out a comeback 30-26 victory over Lumpkin County.
Beaui Apel tried to get the Indians back in the game late with a couple big three-pointers, but the Panthers did well enough at the free throw line in the final minutes to earn the four-point win.
Apel finished the game as Lumpkin’s top scorer, scoring eight points in the game. Preston Cox followed right behind Apel with six points, Dawson Estrella connected for five points and Faulkner contributed four points in the close loss.
The defeat dropped the Indians to 2-1 on the season.
ATTITUDE AND EFFORT
McCrary has been pleased with the effort his players have given so far this season as it is something that he and his coaching staff have been focusing on this season
“The thing that I have noticed across the board is how hard our guys play,” McCrary said. “We preach attitude and effort, and they have really bought into that idea. If you come watch us play, you are going to see our guys flying around and getting after it on the court. One thing we need to work on is being more aggressive. We need to understand when is a good time to attack and drive and which shots are good shots to take. We have taken some good steps in the first few games, but there is always room for improvement.”
McCrary, a LCHS graduate, is excited about what the season could bring to the LCMS boys basketball program and is happy to be coaching his hometown team.
“As a graduate of LCHS, it feels good to be able to give back to the community that gave so much to me as I was growing up,” McCrary said. “There’s a great pride that I have for Lumpkin County and I have always wanted to see it succeed. It’s pretty cool to have the opportunity to sow back into the same programs that helped turn me into who I am today.”