Mohawk Boys Basketball Recap
The Piggott Mohawks had a successful 18-12 campaign under first year head coach David Reynolds, bringing home the championship trophy from the Cooter Invitational, taking second to Gosnell at the Clarkton Christmas Tournament and earning a consolation title in the Pre-Holiday Tourney. The Tribe completed their conference campaign as the fifth seed in the district tournament and beat Harrisburg in the first round. They later fell to eventual district tournament champion Hoxie to end their season.
For Reynolds, and assistant coach Michael Harrell, the season was one of learning and growing. And, looking back on the campaign earlier this week Reynolds noted that he was satisfied with the outcome.
"I thought it went well, of course any time you don't make it out of the district tournament it is disappointing for me as a coach and the kids," Reynolds noted. "But anytime you're bringing in a new system like I was bringing in--and kind of learning on the fly that can happen."
He added that although the players were late getting in the gym this year, the progress was good. "With a lot of kids in the football playoffs, and not having much time, I thought we reacted and did a good job of picking up some of the things I wanted to do. We've still got a long way to go, but all-in-all I felt like it was a success for my first year."
Reynolds also noted that his new "up tempo" style of play wasn't familiar to many of his players. "These kids have been taught over time to slow it down, and it's a process of getting things going into a fast situation and teaching them that style," he explained. "It's not that we're necessarily running to score, we're running so that the defense can't get back and set up in a press or something like that--learning it is a slow process and that's what I've told the kids all year long."
The Tribe only loses three seniors to graduation, but their contributions have been immense. "It's big anytime you lose a point guard like Logan Murray. There were days we asked him to score a lot and there were other days when we just asked him to handle the ball," he said of his graduating floor general. "But, he's a leader and that is the one word that best sums him up--and he's going to be hard to replace."
Reynolds also added how much the team will miss the inside presence of Lucas Brewer, who led the Tribe in scoring many nights from the post. "When you lose somebody like Lucas Brewer, that's big," he added. "Anytime we were in a crunch situation and we needed a bucket, everybody knew where we were going and he was still able to get up in there and score."
The coach added that the role of his third senior, Cody Mantz, shouldn't be underestimated. "And then you lose a guy who can come off the bench like Cody Mantz, who brought so much to the table--so much energy and so much leadership off the bench," he explained. "All three of these seniors mean a lot to me. And as a coach coming in, as a new guy, you've really got to get your seniors behind you and they backed me--and they led and they gave the younger guys a better idea of how to work and what to push for."
But, looking ahead the coach also has a lot to look forward to for his second season. "We'll return three starters in Austin Murray, Trevor Grubb and Will Jett along with Bradley Stephens who played a lot as sixth man. We will also be looking to several other sophomores for some big minutes, and the freshman class is pretty talented," he noted. "We'll just have to get to work this summer and see what we can do."
The junior Mohawks got off to a slow start this season, then steadily improved to a third place finish in conference.
"Early in the year the junior team struggled, that's the only way you can put it. There were a couple of weeks when we came in for early practice before Christmas and never touched a basketball," Reynolds said of his young Mohawks. "And that's part of the process of getting them to where we need to be-- but me and Coach Harrell worked them and worked them and we thought they responded well."
Reynolds added that the improvement became more evident as the season progressed, and were reflected in the final standings. "Anytime you can finish at 18-9 and third in this 3A-3 it's a big accomplishment and the improvement they showed was extraordinary," he surmised of the junior squad.