Trojans ready for second half

Published 8:54 am Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Charles Henderson Trojans head into the holiday break playing some of their best basketball of the season.

The Trojans entered the season with just a few players receiving substantial playing time at the varsity level last season. Despite being young, the Patriots have gotten the most out of their young players as the calendar gets ready to flip to 2020.

“We have an eight or nine (player) rotation and we’re playing five sophomores,” head coach Doug Branson said. “There has been a learning curve for us.”

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Offense became the last thing to kick into gear. The defense was holding opponents to under 40 points per game early on, but the offense struggled to find consistency.

“We started out having a hard time scoring,” Branson said. “We were guarding like crazy. We were holding seven to eight teams to under 40 points. We just couldn’t score enough ourselves.”

Due to injuries, new and younger players were forced to step into new roles for the Trojans. Heading into the break, the Trojans have players picking up valuable experience.

“No matter how much you play, as a young player, you don’t understand the intensity and the constant work that you have to do at the varsity level to be successful,” Branson said. “The sophomores that have played valuable minutes for us, they played at the middle school level and with JV, but at the varsity level it’s a step up and they are having to understand and come into their roles. It takes time. In the last four or five games, we are starting to click.  We are scoring the basketball a little bit better.”

The Trojans went into the season knowing they had to play well on the defensive end. Since the start of the season, Branson has seen improvement, but it’s just a start.

“We have really committed to it,” Branson said. “We have to commit. We don’t have a lot of shooters, so we had to try and create points from our defense. We have really worked on it. We are no where near where I would like us to be, but we’re not bad. Our motto is we’re going to grind. We’re going to grind in practice and we’re going to grind in a game.”

The Trojan defense has been put to the test already this season. The Trojans have played Auburn twice, as well as Enterprise and Andalusia. They will get another challenge when they head to Florida to play in the Sandestin Hoops Tournament beginning on December 26.

“We’ll see teams from Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia,” Branson said. “There is no telling who we are going to run into down there. I feel like quality competition hardens you for when you do get to area play. Our area is going to be much improved and hopefully we can improve with it. I think going up against teams that are solid, going up against teams that play the right way does nothing but harden you and help you.”

The tournament will run from December 26 through the 31.