Woodstock Basketball Facing New Changes and Preparations

Staff Writer: Alex Kelly
Although the buzz is around Woodstock Football, the basketball team is facing big changes with new beginnings. With the loss of some 4-year seniors, head coach Kingston Clark, and the new hiring of coach Joshua Pierce, the team is getting ready for an exciting season. Coach Pierce, who began as the freshman head coach, as well as an assistant for varsity, has said he has high aspirations for this year’s team.

“We lost a lot when our seniors graduated, but I have full confidence that we can still be very dangerous and compete for a region championship,” says Coach Pierce, new varsity head coach. He clearly has a lot of high regards for his team, whether they lose some seniors or not.

This year’s region is going to be just as tough as it always is although. With Etowah coming off the region title last year, along with Cherokee and Roswell, Woodstock has some very tough opponents to face to win region. However, that won’t stop coach Pierce and his training to bring home some trophies.

JP 1

Joshua Pierce, the newly hired Woodstock Basketball varsity head coach. Photo Credit: Joshua Pierce

Along with the loss of some very key seniors, such as Dylin Hardeman, Noah Frith, Sid Mesumbe and Dominic Hewitt, just to name a few, there’s also the return of some star seniors this year. Chris Carroll, Brenden Foo and Brandon Emelogou are three seniors who have been playing at Woodstock for four years, hoping to make their voice heard on varsity.

However, the season hasn’t started, and the teams haven’t been made, but these are three players who will make their mark on the team, on and off the court. One such player, Brenden Foo, talked about being a returning player for his fourth year.

“Playing for this team has meant everything to me. Starting from a freshman to where I am now, I’ve learned countless new skills and improved my IQ completely. I hope I can make a name for myself my senior year,” explained, Brenden Foo, a returning four-year player. No matter what these returning players face, they’re all competing for the same common goal: Victory.

Graduating Seniors

Last year’s graduating senior class for Varsity. (Noah Frith, Dominic Hewitt, Mike Spain, Will Allen, Sid Mesumbe, Dylin Hardeman) Photo Credit: @WoodstockBball

However, the coaching and graduation of seniors aren’t the only changes Woodstock Basketball is facing. There are some players who will be playing varsity for their very first time. Luckily, they have the guidance of their teammates and coaches.

“The pace of varsity is much faster and much more aggressive than junior varsity or freshman. You need to come prepared and you need to stay focused no matter what,” inquired Brandon Emelogou, another returning player.

The players started their preparations for varsity over summer. They went on a camp to Florida State, where they competed against teams who play in Florida. This camp gave the younger players a better feel of the game and how the pace of varsity works.

“At first, I was a little nervous. The kids seemed a lot bigger and faster than I was, but I composed myself and when I stepped onto the court, I was only focused on one thing: Winning,” remarked Dillon Laconi, a third-year player for Woodstock. The idea of playing up a level for the first time can be mind boggling, but these players have their minds in the right places.

Florida State Camp

Returning Junior and Senior players partaking in a camp at Florida State University Photo Credit: @WoodstockBball

Preparing for varsity takes more than playing in a few camps however. Coach Pierce has had these players lifting and running from the beginning of the off-season. They do 4-on-1’s in the mornings and afternoons, as well as weight lifting, and extra cardio workouts.

“Sometimes the workouts he makes us do and take a heavy toll on your body. You feel like you want to fall apart because of how sore you get,” said Brenden Foo. If this is the feeling these players get from their workouts, they seem to be in good shape for the season start. But it’s not only the players that are preparing for the season. The coaches have begun coming up with new game plans for next year’s season.

“One thing we’re going to focus on more is defense. I won’t necessarily change much because coach Clark did an excellent job. I just want us to be a consistent team,” explained Coach Pierce. Pierce hopes with the defensive changes that Woodstock will be able to compete for some titles soon.

Weights

Young returning players lifting weights in preparation for this year’s season. Photo Credit: Joshua Pierce

There have been plenty of ups and downs in the past few seasons with Woodstock Basketball. Every year the team is hurt by the loss of seniors, some of which record-breaking players such as Tyreke Johnson, Dylin Hardeman and Noah Firth. However, this doesn’t stop the team in their continuous road to success. The players don’t let small setbacks like these hold them back. The hard-work and practice that each individual player goes through every day will soon pay off in the upcoming season. Pierce, along with the team, are going to make sure they are at their peak performance in hopes to bring a region title, and possibly a state title, home to Woodstock at last.

Court

The old Woodstock Basketball court recently remodeled with a new design. Photo Credit: @WoodstockBball

 

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