By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
SOUTH LAUREL – The South Laurel Cardinals struggled early last season thanks to a rash of injuries early on in the season, the biggest being that of starting point guard Blake Sanders.
As a result, the Cardinals stumbled out to a 4-8 record over the first month of the season. Head coach Jeff Davis righted the ship somewhat in the month of January as his team won six of the next nine games thanks to a pair of three-game win streaks sandwiching a three-game skid.
The Cardinals went back to their early season ways in February as they dropped six of nine games, including a loss to Corbin in the 50th District finals and a first-round loss to Harlan County in the 13th Region Tournament that ended their season with a disappointing 13-17 record.
With his team's summer routine in full swing (they've actually been playing since spring according to Davis), Davis said he's been able to see what some of his younger players can do on the floor and he expects the work to payoff when the regular season arrives.
“We've got a lot of kids out with baseball just getting over with and football going on,” Davis said. “The good thing is that it gives the kids that are here a chance to get better because they're getting floor time they may not have gotten otherwise.
“Considering the amount of games these kids have played, it really will help them to play against the kind of varsity competition that they've seen,” he added.
As the summer progresses Davis said he knows he'll have his regular players back on the floor eventually, but for now he's going to take advantage of the opportunity to evaluate some young talent and see what they may be able to bring to the table when the games count for something.
“What we really want to look for is getting the kids to break some bad habits they may have,” Davis said. “We want to put them in situations they may not have been put in before and see how they respond and what kind of focus they have.
“The biggest thing though is being able to evaluate kids that we may not have a chance to look at during regular season games,” he added.