Charles Henderson enjoying early season success

Published 10:12 pm Friday, December 25, 2020

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14 games into their season, the Charles Henderson boy’s basketball team has found a lot of early season success.

The Trojans ride into the Christmas break with a 10-4 record. At one point in the season, the Trojans were 10-2 and ranked number in the state by Maxpreps.

The Trojans have 12 players on the roster including one freshman, one senior and 11 juniors. Head coach Doug Branson believes his team is all coming together.

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“They have all hit that stage where they are maturing,” Branson said. “It’s coming together right now. They are playing hard, they are participating and they are buying in to what we are asking them to do. It’s been fun watching them evolve.”

Losses to Enterprise were the only speed bumps for the Trojans early in the season. They recently lost two close games to Florala and Greenville in the Florala Christmas tournament, but other than that it’s been smooth sailing for the Trojans.

“It’s always good to get off to a fast start,” Branson said. “It’s not how you start it’s how you finish. Can we sustain it, continue to grow and continue to get better each day so when it comes to area time, playoff time we can be the best team we can be. The key to that is for us to keep our nose to the grindstone and try to improve every single day.”

The Trojans struggled shooting the basketball last season. Branson hoped and believed his team would be better offensively this season and so far he has gotten his wish.

“I think this year we have scored the basketball a lot better than we have in the last couple of years,” Branson said. “That frees up to do some things on both end of the floor.”

Senior Akeives Shorts has led the Trojans in scoring all season long. Shorts is a natural scorer who lives for the game of basketball.

“He is a born scorer who puts the ball in the hole,” Branson said. “He wakes up with a basketball in his hands and he goes to sleep with a basketball in his hands. He puts time in and loves the game and loves to play. Inside 15 feet he shoots the ball extremely well. With his ball handling skills he has the ability to get to his spot and hit shots.”

The Trojans have also gotten good production out of big man Tay Knox who has provided strong defense.

“He is six-foot-seven and has a wingspan of 6-10,” Branson said. “He affects everything around the rim. That allows you defensively to be more aggressive out front because you have a rim protector.”

The Trojans will start area play after the calendar flips to 2021. Although they have played well defensively, Branson sees room for improvement.

“We have to continue to get better and tidy up our defense,” Branson said. “We are holding teams to 39 percent (shooting) which is good. We want to hold teams to an even lower percentage. If we can continue to improve defensively and make some tweaks on offense then I think we have a chance to be successful.”

The Trojans will play in their second consecutive tournament after the Christmas holiday when they travel to Ozark. They will open the tournament against Eufaula on Saturday. They will play Abbeville on Monday, Dale County on Tuesday and Daleville on Wednesday.