By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
After coming off a three-win season last year, Lynn Camp coach Clyde Dixon decided to tinker with his team’s schedule to help give his players some confidence and momentum along with the chance of getting some more wins under their belts
The plan worked.
The Wildcats own a five-game win streak and garner the fifth most wins in the 13th Region with 14. Lynn Camp started the season with a 1-3 mark, but recovered by going 13-8 since.
“It’s not like we’re Oak Hill to begin with,” Dixon said. “We knew we needed to build some confidence in our players, so I tried to put together a schedule that would give us a chance to build some success and it has helped a lot.
“We’re doing pretty good right now,” he added. “I said before the season began if we didn’t get at least 15 wins, I would be really disappointed and right now, we’ve got 14, so I’m happy with where we are. We could and should have had three or four more wins, but we let some games slip away. I thought we had a couple of games down in Monticello we should have won and I feel like we should have won the Whitley County game in the Bowman (Memorial Classic).”
According to Dixon, one of the main reasons the Wildcats have been successful the past couple of weeks is the play of everyone on the team.
Senior Zach Smith has been a mainstay this season by averaging 14 points and 11 rebounds a game while Skylar McFarland (11.8 points per game) and Justin Hammonds (10.7) aren’t far behind.
But the Wildcats aren’t a three-man show. Austin Maier recently poured in a career-best 27-point effort while Matthew Trosper has recorded two triple-doubles during the past two weeks.
“We’ve got a lot of players contributing and that’s what is making us have the success the past two weeks,” Dixon said. “We’ve got Zach Smith, who is probably one of the underrated players in the region, coming out of nowhere and having a great year for us. I’ve not had anyone work as hard and has changed as much as Zach. He wasn’t even getting much playing time last season.
“These guys are playing as a team and they see that it has brought us some success,” he added. “I’m really pleased with what we have done so far.”
Looking down the road though, Dixon knows what lies ahead will be a challenge for his team — another matchup with Dinky Phipps’ Barbourville Tigers.
Lynn Camp has dropped seven straight games to Barbourville with the Wildcats’ last win (an 86-80 victory over the tigers on the road) coming on Jan. 11, 2008.
“We know we’ve got to play Barbourville again in the district tournament,” he said.
The two teams have already played each other twice this season with the Tigers coming away with 80-50 and 76-37 victories.
“If you look at our scores against them, you’d probably think we don’t have a chance, but I do,” Dixon said. “It’s hard to beat a team three times and we understand it’s going to be tough, but I feel like we’ve got a shot.”