By Chris Parsons
When you talk about turning things around, this year’s Lynn Camp Wildcats know a thing or two about the subject.
Head coach Clyde Dixon’s squad had the biggest turnaround in the 13th Region this season and quite possibly in the state.
After winning just three games last season, the Wildcats finished with a 16-15 mark and saw their season come to an end thanks to a 84-64 loss to Barbourville in the opening round of the 51st District Tournament.
Despite the short stay in the postseason, Dixon said he was pleased with what his team achieved and looks forward to next year as well.
“We set a goal of reaching 15 wins and considering we had only won three games the previous year, that was a lofty goal,” Dixon said. “At the end of the season as things wound down, we were actually pretty disappointed that we couldn’t do better than that.
“I feel like if we hadn’t had some injuries at the beginning of the season, we might have been able to win 20 or more games,” he added.
As the program continues to strive toward competing against district and region opponents on a continuous basis, Dixon said the fact his squad was able to reach the goal it had set for wins was a big deal in the grand scheme of things.
“Whether these kids came from another school or out of our middle school program, they really hadn’t experienced a whole lot of success on the basketball court,” Dixon said. “Being able to reach a goal that you set and getting that feeling of achievement really gives them the confidence that is necessary to be able to improve on a yearly basis.
“Considering the effort that these kids put in from the preseason workouts to the final game, it’s really important to see them succeed,” he added. “What the kids coming back can see is what it's like to have your efforts pay off in the win column, so hopefully they’ll feel the pressure to carry that progress over.”
The Wildcats will have a surplus of young talent returning next season in players like Justin Hammonds, Austin Maeir, Skylar McFarland and Aaron Mills. Considering the way the Wildcats played this season and what he expects next year, Dixon said he likes what he sees and admitted that the team was a fun one to be around. Given that, he also said he expects the same atmosphere next season.
“This group was just fun to be around and I think the young kids coming back will be the same way,” Dixon said. “These guys were there every time the gym doors opened whether it was to practice or if it was for open gym, so I know they’re willing to put the work in.
“Any time you have kids that are willing to put the effort in to get better, it’s really fun to be a part of it as a coach,” he added. “I think if we put the kind of work in next season that I expect, we’ll be able to improve on that win total for the second straight year.”