NEWLAND – If the recent offseason successes of local students on the basketball court are any indication, the future of the Avery High School hoops program is indeed bright.
Coach Joe Ingham took his squad of players to Winston-Salem for a travel basketball tournament earlier this month, earning a second place overall in an area that included the top travel teams in the world. ‘State and region.
“We’ve been to tournaments about every two weeks for the last month. The boys are playing very well and improving. They played a game this week which was as good as we’ve been playing for quite some time. We beat a team of about 30 points and just played really good basketball, ”said Ingham.
The group that makes up the team is made up of several members who have been playing basketball together for several years. This continuity lent itself to success on hardwood and manifested itself in victories on the floor.
“This is probably the best group of young people I have ever worked with as a coach. They really are like a bunch of brothers. There is no jealousy, they are all in the same boat as a team. We don’t really have an outstanding player to count on to score all the points. The score is evenly distributed and the boys are all excited on the bench and cheering on those in the game. They just have great chemistry and play really well together. They share the ball and they all sacrifice themselves individually for the good of the team.
The team have played at Winston-Salem, as well as Mount Airy and Hickory over the past few weeks, facing some high level competition.
“This weekend we came in second, and the only team we lost twice against was a team from Charlotte who had players who had been playing together for four or five years,” Ingham said. “Several teams we played were part of a Pro Skills basketball program, which I believe is a national program. We’re up against good teams, a lot of good AAU travel teams. We saw teams from different parts of the state and the country.
According to Ingham, it stands to reason that the challenge of fierce competition will continue to drive his own team to improve and succeed, and he has seen first-hand how the process has helped the local Avery team. to step up its competition bar game.
“A lot of these teams we play with come from bigger regions and draw from a much larger talent pool, so you play teams with a lot of high quality players, which helps us to improve,” Ingham explained. . “We are up against a lot of fast teams, which helps us in our decision-making, when it comes to good passes. We have seen a very big improvement on the defensive end as we play very talentedly which prevents our boys from being lazy in defense. their feet, sliding and getting in front of people to stop the ball. Our assist defense has improved, and you are really starting to see all sides of the game with higher level competition. In those situations you’re either going to shrink or you’re going to be up to the task, and our boys stood up and played really well together and in every game, whether we won or lost.
Ingham explained how the engagement of parents and supporters enables local students to participate in travel sports at the high school, middle and youth levels.
“This parent group has grown and been a great support to attend the games with great participation. They have always been there to help, whether it is with money for a tournament or to provide drinks for the children. Almost every parent has come to me to tell me if anyone needs anything let it be known, ”Ingham said. “The basketball community in Avery County along with coaches from other levels is always interested in how the team is behaving and coming to support them, and we try to support them when we can. The high school basketball team participated in a fundraiser. Community support is important and has helped our boys, and they are excited to play whenever they have the chance. We are really proud of these boys.
Avery County High School basketball kicks off with its first day of training (for non-football players) on Monday, October 25.