CHHS’s Carlisle comes in as sixth man

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2000

Sports Writer

The sixth man is often one of the most overlooked positions on a basketball team. Like a backup quarterback in football, the sixth man is the first substitute to come off the bench who surveys the early action knowing he’s just one injury away from being a starter.

Such is the case with Charles Henderson High School junior Deandra Carlisle. One of the biggest unknowns on the team coming into the season, Carlisle has been a positive contributor in the Trojans recent turnaround for head coach Carl Hollis.

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Despite not owning tremendous statistics, Carlisle has received more playing time than expected from Hollis due to his tremendous hustle on the defensive end of the floor and the ability to make key plays that don’t often make a highlight reel.

Carlisle and the Trojans (9-6) hope to continue their winning ways this Tuesday night when they travel to Clayton to face the No. 5 ranked 2A Barbour County Jaguars (11-3) in the third meeting of the season between the two teams. Tipoff is set for 4:30 p.m.

While most young players wouldn’t be happy about not starting, Carlisle said he sees his sixth man role as opportunity to contribute for the Trojans.

"I get a chance to see the other team’s offense before you get on the court so I’ll know what to do," Carlisle said. "You also see whatever the other teams go man-to-man or zone, so I will know what to do against different defenses."

With the unpredictable nature of 5A basketball, Carlisle said he knows his number could be called anytime.

"If it’s close, Coach Hollis might call me off the bench for defense in the first quarter," Carlisle said. "If we’re in control, I’ll come off the bench in the second quarter. My role is to play defense, but my responsibility is also to have to take up the slack for the offense if someone gets in early foul trouble."

Depending on what happens during the course of the game, Carlisle

comes off the bench to play either the shooting guard or the power forward position.

However, playing the sixth man coming off the bench didn’t occur early in the season without any sacrifices. Carlisle said one of the things he’s had to do is take fewer shots and concentrate more on playing solid defense.

"The biggest challenge was offense because the starters are your scorers," Carlisle said. "When I go into the game, I wasn’t doing as much scoring because the other players will get the points. It’s easier playing defense than offense being the sixth man. Coach Hollis knew I was going to be a defensive person, but he didn’t tell me (before the season) I was going to start or be the sixth man."

However, Carlisle said his goal is to crack the starting lineup before the end of the regular season. Offensively, Carlisle said he hopes to become more aggressive and continue to play strong defense for the Trojans.

In spite of not getting heavy minutes of playing time, Carlisle said he takes pride in winning and helping the team become more successful. Following an embarrassing early December home loss to Jeff Davis, Carlisle said the squad has come together at the right time.

"That whole week (following the JD game) during practice, we knew we couldn’t take anything for granted. We learned we have to earn every win. Playing the tough schedules has helped us play in the area because we go up against bigger and faster people."

After a dismal 1-5 start, the Trojans are playing together with a lot more confidence. Carlisle said he thinks the Trojans can go a long way in the postseason if they remain hungry and focused.

"We can go all the way," Carlisle said. "We just need to work on second shots and rebounding. We can’t let the winning

get to our heads because we have to work harder in practice. In December it was hard because there was so much negativity going on. When Coach Hollis weeded the team out, it made things easier. Now we’re playing and having fun instead of dealing with the consequences."

Hollis said Carlisle has been one of his more consistent performers on defense despite not having great stats due to his tremendous attitude and work ethic.

"He’s got a great positive attitude because he comes to practice and works hard," Hollis said. "I haven’t played him a lot, but he’s really improved. He works hard on defense in practice and makes the other players better. He will really help us in the last seven games."

Offensively, Hollis said Carlisle is capable of having good nights shooting the ball because he has a strong right hand move to the basket and ability to spot up. Hollis said Carlisle can improve offensively if he learns how to use the left hand dribble and shoot on the run.

Carlisle said Hollis’s coaching this season has helped make himself and the team one to watch in the coming weeks as the Trojans occupy first place in 5A Area 4.

"The way he coaches makes us feel like we belong because when we’re together it makes us feel united instead of us going our separate ways," Carlisle said. " Without him working us hard, we wouldn’t be where we are today."