Demopolis High varsity basketball opens Monday

Roderick Davis, a First Team West Alabama Watchman All-County player a season ago, is one of six seniors on the Demopolis High 2013 roster.

Roderick Davis, a First Team West Alabama Watchman All-County player a season ago, is one of six seniors on the Demopolis High 2013 roster.

The Demopolis High varsity basketball team will open its regular season Monday at Caroll-Ozark in a Thanksgiving tournament against Class 6A Northview High School.

“Tbey are coached by Janasky Fleming. A good defensive team, they love running a great 2-2-1. They’ll be big and athletic,” DHS coach Rodney Jackson said of a Cougar team that includes 6-7 senior Martavius Johnson. “It’ll be a good opening game for us.”

The Tigers will be guaranteed three games during the tournament amid a bracket that also includes Dothan, Barbour County, Caroll-Ozark, Rehobeth, ACA and Booker T. Washington.

The Tigers enter the year with a roster that includes six seniors returning from a team that went 14-12 a season ago.

“It’s just maturity. Over the summer they’ve matured. We’re missing a couple of pieces. Of course we’re missing Tommy (Wilson). He graduated. He was a big part of our success last year,” Jackson said. “But those younger kids who were juniors, now they’re seniors and they’re coming into that leader role.”

Demetrius Kemp, Cortez Lewis, D’metric Howell, Kiante Jeffries, Roderick Davis and Tyler Perkins will provide the lion’s share of the leadership for the Tigers.

The Demopolis squad also consists of five underclassmen in juniors Tripp Perry and Charles Tripp as well as first-time varsity players Sam Renner, a junior, and the sophomore combination of Datrion Fultz and Jeremy Hines.

Kiante Jeffries, one of six seniors on the DHS varsity squad, will handle the ball regularly for the Tigers in 2013.

Kiante Jeffries, one of six seniors on the DHS varsity squad, is expected to handle the ball regularly for the Tigers in 2013.

“Charles Tripp was on the team last year, but I think he’ll be a big newcomer with expanded playing time. Datrion Fultz, he just brings a lot of athleticism. He never played organized basketball. This is his first year. He can shoot the ball from the outside,” Jackson said. “Jeremy Hines is going to back up at the point guard. We’re going to try to develop him.”

While the Tigers will see Jeffries handle most of the point guard duties, Jackson said his squad is loaded with players capable of running the team’s offense.

“The thing about this team and what I run’ I run a lot of motion, I run a lot of flex. I’m comfortable with any five of my guys on the court handling the ball,” Jackson said. “That’s a good thing. The main key is these guys staying focused and just handling the ball.”

As Jackson heads into the third season at Demopolis, expectations have grown to include an area championship and a playoff run.

“We’re expecting to have a good season if we execute, play hard and do things right,” Jackson said. “I think it is a five-year plan. Year three, we should turn some heads. People should say, ‘Okay. This is his product.’ We were 14-12 last year. We’re looking to move up on that record. Every year I’ve been here, the record has improved. We’re expecting big things and we’re expecting to play for the area championship this year.”

The Tigers are scheduled to tip Monday at 7 p.m. in Ozark.