By Bryan Davis
Oak Hill boys basketball coach Brian Middleton said on Monday that he has been practicing with four of the 10 players that are on his 2010-2011 roster. When the football season officially ended last Friday night, the other six that will play for him this season wasted no time in getting to the hardwood.
The Raiders were shooting in the gym on Sunday, preparing themselves for their November 9 match at Lamar.
“They are excited,” Middleton said. “We’re going to have 10 good players. It’s going to be fun.”
Middleton will be starting his third season as the skipper of the Raider team. In his first season, the team finished 6-21, but they improved to a 12-18 mark last year. In 2010-2011, the veteran coach is expecting big things out of the Oak Hill team.
“It’s time to turn the corner,” Middleton said. “We’ve gotten better each year. I think we’re capable of it this year.”
The Raiders will be playing in a tough district that will include Winston, Carroll and Manchester. Carroll will be returning four players from last year, while Manchester features two great athletes in Matt and Josh Peaster.
With the numbers up this season, Middleton is expecting his returning crew to compete for the district title.
Seniors Zach Bryan and Stephen Jones will be expected to lead the team.
“They are both going to be expected to be big time leaders for this team,” Middleton said. “They should be two of the best guards in this district.”
While the end of the season titles are always the ultimate goal for any team, Middleton said that he expects to achieve all of that by focusing on things one game at a time.
“We’re not going to put a number on it,” he said. “Our goal is to go out each night and to play hard. If we do that, then the scoreboard will take care of itself.”
Next Tuesday, Oak Hill will get its first taste of competition, on the road, at Larmar.
“They’re going to be fairly young, like us,” Middleton said. “Lamar is a tough place to play. We’re going to be ready. I’ve prepared the boys to play ball next Tuesday.”
Home fans will get to see the Raiders for the first time the following Thursday, against Kirk. All of the action is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.