By Les Dixon For the Times-Tribune
LYNN CAMP — The Lynn Camp Wildcats are coming off their first winning season in four years, and they'll look to improve on their 16-win total from 2013 with new coach Eric Swords taking over at the helm.
Swords is looking to reintroduce an up-tempo style of play that made the Wildcats one of the more entertaining teams to watch under former coach Anthony Pennington.
“Our tempo is a much faster pace, which I think will benefit us greatly,” Swords said “The kids have adapted great. I think at first things were a little difficult for them to process, but they are going all out at trying to do things the way we want them.
“The biggest key will be our effort and pressure on defense,” he added. “I feel if we come with the right intensity on that end every day in practice or in games that we will be tough to beat. I think our older guys will carry us on offense early in the year, and I’m hoping that will give the younger guys a chance to get more comfortable in varsity action.”
Swords will be fielding a young team, but will return starters Justin Hammonds and Skylar McFarland.
“Hammonds is a really fast guard who can get to the rim and also a good shooter from three,” Swords said. “I think he will have a big year in our up-tempo system. He’s a guy that keeps coming at you full speed for 32 minutes on both ends — I call him our Russ Smith. McFarland will start on the wing, in my opinion he’s the most underrated player in the region. He’s a great shooter but can also score in a variety of ways. I’m not sure the rest of the region knows how good this kid is.
“Having a young team there’s going to be more ups and downs throughout the year than there would be if we were more experienced,” he added. “I think sometimes as a coach you expect them to already know things, or pick up on things quicker than they do.”
If his Wildcats continue to improve, Swords believes his team can surprise.
“I feel like if we play with effort and together then we can beat anybody in the region, if we don’t, then I think anybody in the region can beat us,” he said. “That’s something we have really tried to make the guys understand.”
Swords looks to lead Wildcats back to 13th region tourney
By Les Dixon For the Times-Tribune
- Local Sports
The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are partying like it's 1987! That was the last time the Jackets won a game in the 13th Region Tournament, and they ended the 27-year drought with a 47-44 win over the heavily-favored Knox Central Panthers on Thursday night.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'Em
When it comes to picking region tournament games, it’s not an easy task to say the least. This is the most parity that I’ve ever seen in the 13th Region Boys and Girls Tournaments.
If Clay County’s play during the first game of the 13th Region Tournament is any indication of things to come, Robert Marcum’s squad could be well on its way of capturing their second straight 13th Region championship.
The Way it is
Since I’m picking Corbin to pull off the upset against Jackson County today, I figured I’d give my top five upsets dating back to 2005-06 when the 13th realigned and welcomed both North and South Laurel high schools to the mix.
Tony Pietrowski’s Corbin Redhounds have been favored during the past two first round 13th Region match-ups, and have been upset both times. Corbin is hoping things might change a bit this time around.
Barbourville will have hands full against Bell County today
Dinky Phipps’ Barbourville Tigers are looking for their first 13th Region Tournament win dating back to 2006’s tournament when they defeated Clay County in the regional semifinals.
Like It or Not
There’s an elephant in the room at this year’s 13th Region Tournament, and really in basketball in general, and I guess I’ll be the first one to point it out (publicly with my name attached to it).
Chris' Daily Region Pick'Em
With the first three days of opening round games in the books, I can honestly say I'm not surprised that I'm 4-2 overall when it comes to my pick'ems record.
You can never count out the Clay County Lady Tigers when it comes to the 13th Region Tournament.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'em
After going just .500 during the girls games, things are going to get even tougher when it comes to picking the 13th Region Boys Tournament games.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- Knoxed Out