Hornets ready for home opener

With football season winding down across the state, athletic contests will soon move from the gridiron to the hardwood as schools begin preparations for the 2013-14 basketball season. John Essex High will have the honor of being the first school in Marengo county to open its gym doors to the public for their home opener when they face off against the Dallas County Hornets in tonight’s non-area matchup.

Although both varsity squads finished with a winning percentage under .500 last season, optimism among players and coaches are on the up.

“I like our chances.” Athletic Director and Coach Keonn Nettles said in regards to his teams’ ability to compete. “I feel as though the region this year shall be very interesting and that we shall be very competitive. We must be consistent and play our style of basketball.”

For the boys, consistency and leadership will no doubt play a large role in the style of play they will eventually come to embody. A team that stayed completive throughout region play last season saw only one loss of more than 15 points at the hands of an area foe. And with several upper classmen returning, eyes will be on them to lead on and off the court.

Michael Moore and Jaylon Worthy are returning seniors and Anthony McIntosh is a returning junior. Timothy Jones is also a junior that is going to be asked to contribute a lot throughout the season.

“They will all need to step up by showing leadership on and off the court to help the younger guys throughout the season.” Nettles said about his impact players.

As for the Lady Hornets, past familiarity at least in terms of game experience, isn’t as prevalent throughout the roster. They do however possess intangibles that can’t be coached. Grit and determination in combination with quality young talent should make for a vast improvement from last year’s efforts.

Two juniors, Krisshandra Flucker and Latoria Fields, along with eighth grader Amber Richardson will be expected to lead the charge for the Hornets.

“They will all have to show immense toughness throughout the season while bringing along the younger players. Dajia Miller also is expected to be a key contributor, providing a spark off the bench.” Nettles went on to add.

The Lady Hornets are set to tip things off at 5 p.m. Thursday evening immediately followed by the Varsity boys.

The Lady Hornets opened their season last Thursday with a 34-29 win over Dallas County before falling 59-22 to Clarke County Tuesday.

The Essex varsity fell 68-22 to DCHS and 61-50 to Clarke County.