Daleville Warhawks Basketball

Brian Beckwith (35) is one of Daleville’s senior leaders heading into the season.

After missing out on the state tournament last season, the Daleville Warhawks return for the 2021-2022 basketball season with a new coach and new excitement.

Emil Jones comes to Daleville after serving as assistant coach at Charles Henderson from 2015 until 2021. Jones was a star guard at Pearl River Community College and Troy University before moving into coaching. He was hired at Daleville this past summer.

“I’m excited to hit the ground running and I can’t wait to get started and build this program back up,” Jones said after being hired by Daleville.

Jones said that since official practices began, his team has been “locked in” from the beginning.

“It’s going really good,” Jones emphasized. “The guys are coming in with a bunch of energy and are locked in right now. They’re making my job a lot easier because they have their heads on straight.”

Jones said that coming into the season he would be looking to seniors Brian Beckwith – the team’s returning leading scorer – and Jaques Clay to be leaders this season. He also said that fellow senior Andre Gettis was expected to be a leader before a knee injury ended his senior campaign before it started.

Losing Gettis will be a big blow to the Warhawks, along with the departure of all-state point guard Tomar Hobdy who moved to Enterprise, but Daleville also has added 6-foot-4-inch, 185-pound sophomore forward Moses McDowell to the roster after the sophomore moved to Daleville from North Carolina in the offseason.

McDowell played in six games as a freshman at Westover High School (NC) before moving to Daleville. McDowell was described by a recruiting service as one of the top prospects from North Carolina’s Class of 2024 before he came to Alabama. He earned MVP honors at an “Elite 8” event over the summer.

“This long forward is a work horse in the paint and aggressively attacks the ball as it comes off the glass,” the recruiting service described. “This kid’s size, motor and overall skillset means college programs need to take notice.”

“We need those guys to be our leaders this season,” Jones said of his seniors and McDowell.

Jones pointed to getting his Warhakws to play a full game as one of the biggest obstacles early in the season.

“Our biggest thing is playing an entire game, whether we’re up 20 points or down 20 points,” Jones said. “We have to bring the same intensity and attack on each possession as if it’s the most important possession of the game.”

The Warhawks won’t get much of a warmup to start the season as they travel to Ozark to play Carroll on Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. in the season opener. The Warhawks will host their first home game on Dec. 3 against Ariton.

For the first time in a decade the Daleville Lady Hawks are breaking in a new coach as longtime coach Zach Kelley has departed and Tim Waller has stepped in to take over that position.

Waller comes to Daleville after a stellar career as the head boys’ basketball coach at Murphy High School from 2008 until 2017. Waller is no stranger to championships either. His Murphy squads won two area championships and made the Class 6A Final Four on two separate occasions.

“We want to get things back to where they used to be here,” Waller said after being hired at Daleville. “The girls had some Final Four experience here and we want to get back there.”

Waller said that the varsity practices have been “hit and miss” so far but he’s been especially pleased with the way his younger players – including the middle school team – have bought in already but he’s looking for more consistency out of his varsity squad.

“My junior high practices are going pretty good but my varsity practices have been kind of hit or miss,” Waller said. “I think if our seniors step up and be the leaders they’re capable of being we can have a very good year.

“If not, it will be a rebuilding process and I’m fine either way. I love the young players we have but if our seniors step up we can be good. If not, we’ll just keep rebuilding.”

Waller said he’s looking to returning seniors like Rickia Thomas and Tamiyah Johnson to lead the way but also expects young players like Katelyn High, Kiani Schmitz and Laterria Adams to step up to bigger roles this season.

“Our primary goal is to make the playoffs,” Waller flatly said. “Once we get there we’ll reset then.”

Daleville opens the season on the road at Carroll on Nov. 16 and hosts its first home game on Dec. 3 against Ariton. The Lady Hawks will battle in a unique tournament at Enterprise State Community College this season, as well. Daleville will play Providence Christian on Dec. 4 at the ESCC Campus Classic with the winning team playing Geneva County later in the day.

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