By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
WILLIAMSBURG — While a lot of high school students are spending a large portion of the summer at the lake or a local water park or maybe just chilling at their house, like a lot of other teams, the Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are spending a lot of their time in the gym.
With a handful of games behind them, Yellow Jackets head coach Patrick Robinson said he has liked what he’s seen from his team so far.
“We started practicing at the end of May so we’re really kind of just getting started,” Robinson said. “We played two games at Corbin last week and two at South Laurel and things look OK so far.
“We’ve got some kids back that were out with injuries last year, so we’re getting a feel of what we can and can’t do,” he added. “We’re 2-2 so far with wins over Corbin and Jackson County, but we lost close games in the two losses. I feel good about things and the direction we’re headed and if we stay healthy I feel like we can have a good year.”
Williamsburg struggled last season as they finished the season with six wins before losing to Corbin in the 50th District Tournament to end their season. The Yellow Jackets picked up a win over Whitley County last season, which was viewed by some as the high point of the season although they dropped three of the next five games to end the season.
The best thing Robinson and company may have going for them is the fact they return all of last year’s starters, which means most of his team will be a little more experienced thanks to the playing time they saw last year.
Robinson said given the fact his team is a relatively young one, his approach to this summer is a little different than past years.
“Every year is different in the things you try to do,” he said. “A lot of it depends on the kind of numbers you have out and whether or not all the kids that you expect to have in your lineup when the season starts are there.
“You try to get a feel for what works best for the particular group you’re dealing with,” he added. “We’ve been pretty deep where we’ve kept nine or 10 guys running in and out, but right now we’re kind of having to run some offenses and be patient because we’re not that deep. You want to try and develop some kind of chemistry with the guys you have, but like I said each year is different.”
Williamsburg will have one of the most exciting scorers in the 13th Region at his disposal again this season in Skyler Griffith. As a sophomore last year, Griffith led the team with 19.2 points per game, followed by Corey Shelton’s 17.6. The pair were the only Yellow Jackets to average double figures for the season.
Robinson will also have the services of Skyler Griffith’s brother, 6-foot-5 Andrew Griffith, who sat out last season due to injury.
With the duo of Skyler Grffith and Shelton to feed Andrew Griffith in the post, optimism may run rampant this season for Yellow Jackets fans. Robinson said he expects big things if the team is able to stay healthy and said he feels like the Yellow Jackets are close to turning the corner as far as being competitive in the 13th Region.
“I think we’re really close to being where we want to be,” Robinson said. “If we can stay healthy, this could be the year that we’re able to say we’re going to be competitive for the next few years.
“Last year we were short a player or two on size, but we have a kid (Andrew Griffith) back that gives us some of that size and presence in the middle,” he added. “So I feel like if we can establish a little bit of a bench, this could be the kind of season that we build something that can last a few years.”