Enterprise High School played host to a number of high schools from all over the state and Florida for a playdate at Wildcat Arena on June 13.
Basketball teams from Greenville, Ashford, Luverne, Rehobeth, Elba, Graceville (Fla.), New Brockton, Charles Henderson, Geneva County and Carroll joined Enterprise and Dauphin Junior High for a series of games. Teams played four games each in two 20-minute halves.
Enterprise went 2-2 in its two games during the day starting out with a 55-43 come-from-behind win over Greenville to open the day.
The Wildcats got down 10-2 early in the game before going on a run to take a 13-12 lead midway through the first half. Ultimately, Enterprise trailed 27-24 at halftime, though.
In the second half a strong scoring performance from sophomore Quentin Hayes and junior Josh McCray helped lead Enterprise to take control of the game and take the 55-43 win.
Hayes led Enterprise with 19 points while Dominic York scored 12 points and McCray scored 11 points. Jalen Cunningham also pitched in with seven points.
“We were able to climb back in it with some good offense,” Enterprise coach Rhett Harrelson said. “We really were able to win two of our games just off of offense.
“We were hitting our shots. I think offensively we’re going to be pretty good. We have a couple of guys that can score and want to score, but until we played defense and put some effort into playing defense, we will be very, very average.”
Harrelson was disappointed with his team’s lack of energy and effort on the defensive end of the floor throughout the day.
“We didn’t play really well,” Harrelson bluntly said. “Certainly we could have played a lot better. It’s not about mistakes either.
“You like to play in the summer to be able to work on some things and get better, but our energy out there was like we would rather be out doing something else. That’s what I have a problem with. I can live with missing shots or turning the ball over. I can live with a lot of things as long as you’re playing hard and we weren’t.”
Enterprise was also playing without all-state senior Dallas Howell and juniors KJ Couch and Jared Smith, who are all recovering from knee surgeries and hope to be back at full strength for the 2019-2020 season.
“In the summer time we have some guys injured and banged up, so it’s a big opportunity for younger guys to fill in and prove themselves a little bit,” Harrelson said. “I’m a little upset about that, too, because no one really tried to step up. I’m hoping it was just a bad day and we’ll get another chance on Friday to step up.”
The Wildcats will be heading to Birmingham for another playdate with teams around the state on the campus of Birmingham-Southern this Friday, June 21.
New Brockton started off the day against Rehobeth in tough action under new head coach Jonathan Hawkins, who comes over from Enterprise where he coached football. Hawkins is previously a basketball coach at Sumiton Christian School near Birmingham.
The Gamecocks fell to Rehobeth in that first game 76-33 but played well at times in the game, too.
New Brockton was led by Sean Lindley with 11 points and Tariq Walker with nine points in the loss.
“We have a lot of kids that haven’t played a whole lot of basketball,” Hawkins said. “Me coming from Enterprise we didn’t get a full spring evaluation period, so we have been trying to put in a lot of stuff in a short time.
“When we executed the things we’ve been putting in we got some good opportunities. We still have a lot of work to do and a long way to go.”
Hawkins said that his team’s youth and inexperience as well as the coaching changes of late – Hawkins is the third New Brockton basketball coach in the last three seasons – means there is a lot of fundamental work for the Gamecocks to do.
“We’re just focused on competing and doing things the right way and not worrying about the scoreboard right now,” Hawkins emphasized. “The biggest thing we want to work on right now is execution.
“They really have to learn about basketball in general. We’re working a lot on fundamentals, ball handling, footwork, defensive drills; just basic stuff. The kids just haven’t played a lot and just don’t have a lot of experience.”
Hawkins said that he hopes that he and his staff can help build the confidence of his players, which is something New Brockton basketball has been lacking in recent years.
“We’re trying to build some confidence with the work they are putting in and just trying to build that up as a program,” Hawkins said. “(Building confidence) will be key for us. We have some kids that can be good players but they’re just unsure of themselves.
“That’s where we start giving them some simple tasks and let them be successful at that. That’s one of the things we got out of (the playdate). When we executed the stuff we’ve been working on we got some really good shots and were able to go on some runs where we scored 6-8 points in a row. They have to see themselves be successful and build confidence from there.”
New Brockton will look to continue building some confidence this Thursday, June 20, at a three-way playdate with Geneva County and Rehobeth in Hartford.