FORT MILL – Some things will be the same for Nation Ford basketball this season, but there will be a lot that is different.
For the Nation Ford girls, the team brings back several players including senior Kelci Adams, who is one of the top senior players in the state according to the state Basketball Coaches Association. Adams could be come just the second girl in school history to score more than 1,000 points this season and comes in just 182 points away from that mark.
“We have a pretty strong team coming back,” said new Falcons’ head coach Coretta Richmond, who takes over for Kate Edwards, the new head coach at Catawba Ridge. “Even though they graduated five, there are some kids that look really, really strong. I think we are going to be pretty good.”
Nation Ford is coming off a Region 3-5A title and a deep playoff run to go with their 23-6 record from last season. This year’s biggest strength for the team will be their guard play, Richmond said.
“We are going to be quick,” she said. “I believe we are going to be able to capitalize on our defensive side. Offense and defense will be interesting to see as we go into the region.”
The Nation Ford girls were picked to finish third in the region in the preseason coaches’ poll, but Richmond feels like that is underestimating her team.
“I believe we will be able to attend and fight for the region again,” Richmond said.
Nation Ford boys to rebuild
To say the Falcons boys’ team will be rebuilding this season, is an understatement. The team is bringing back just two lettermen from last year with only senior Petey Tuipulotu seeing significant minutes from last season. Nation Ford was picked to finish fifth in the region.
Gone are nearly 100 percent of their scoring from last season with former players Zeb Graham, Malik Bryant, Khydarius Smith and Shaman Alston that led them to a 24-5 record and a region title, all now playing at the college level.
Head coach Jared Adamson said he knows last year is over and he is doing all he can to make this year’s team the best it can be.
“We got a lot of guys that are working hard,” he said. “We are concentrating on three things – doing your job, attitude and effort. Those are three things we are really talking about. Those things are non-negotiable.”
So far, Adamson said, that he has been most impressed with how this year’s team has been on the defensive side of the ball.
“Defensively, we have been solid,” he said. “We are going to have to win low scoring games. We have a good mix. We don’t have any superstars. We just got guys who want to work hard and do their jobs. That has been fun to coach. It is night and day from what we have had in the past.”
Adamson said his goal for the season is to get better daily and to hopefully make the playoffs.
“We have guys that work hard,” he said. “We feel like we got a chance. Just have to continue to work on the little things.”
The Falcons will open up the regular season Dec. 2 at Indian Land and will have its first home game Dec. 9, also against Indian Land. They will travel to Catawba Ridge Dec. 3 and will host the Copperheads Dec. 20. Region play starts for both the boys’ and girls’ teams Jan. 14th against Rock Hill. Nation Ford will host Fort Mill Jan. 28 and will play at Fort Mill Feb. 14 to close out the regular season.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @MacBanksFM