Calhoun Times

Jackets ready to showcase entire team

- By Mike Tenney MTenney@CalhounTim­

Christmas may still be over a week away, but don’t tell that to Calhoun High School head basketball coach Vince Layson.

With seven new players now in the gym and ready to go because football season is over, much like a new toy, the coach can begin to really assemble the team he has been waiting to put together all along.

“I’m very excited about having my full team now,” Layson said. “(Monday) morning, when I woke up, I (felt) like a kid at Christmas who got all the stuff he wanted. It’s going to be nice to have all the new guys out there. Now we’ve got a lot of work to do and we don’t have a lot of time until we play on Friday, but we are very excited to have those guys and I know they’ll be ready to go to work.”

The Jackets are presently 2-2 on the year and are off until this weekend when they have back-to-back games starting Friday night when they go to the Santa Jam tournament at Lambert High School in Suwanee.

They will take on Mill Creek at 5 p.m. Friday and then wrap things up early Saturday afternoon with their second game in about 20 hours when they take on the home team Lambert at 12:30 p.m.

“I just want to see us go out and compete,” Layson said of what he is looking for his guys this weekend. “I want to see us go out and compete as hard as we can. It will be interestin­g to see how the new guys look, considerin­g this is their first game in a long time, but I am confident that they’ll do well.

“The biggest thing is the conditioni­ng. I know they’re in shape, but they’ve got to get in basketball shape. And so we’ll be spending some time this week on that, but I am excited to have everyone out there and looking forward to getting those guys going.”

He said it will be a challenge trying to get everyone up to speed, but these incoming players are not rookies.

“It’s going to be tough,” Layson said. “You’re basically trying to cram an entire preseason into a four-day period, but

the great thing about the guys coming in is, just about all of them have a lot of experience. They’ve been through this before, so they know what they need to do to get ready and what we need to do to get them ready. So this will be a challengin­g week, incorporat­ing them into what we’re doing, but they know the offense, they know what we want to do defensivel­y, so I think all of that will definitely help.”

He said he is glad the schedule happens to break in their favor with no games until Friday, so that gives them a few days to get it cranked up.

The team last played last week and was involved in a pair of close games with a three-point road win at Chattooga last Tuesday night and a two-point home loss to Paulding County Wednesday evening to put them at 2-2.

He said the loss to Paulding was one they could have won, but simply ran out of time after they erased a 19-point deficit late in the third quarter to get the game tied twice in the final two minutes.

“I thought we showed a lot of resiliency against Paulding,” Layson said. “To be honest, their (defensive) pressure really gave us trouble and I thought we played as poorly as we could play in the middle of that game. But I thought once we got comfortabl­e in the game and started handling their (defensive) pressure, we started doing some very good things.

“Defensivel­y, we had a hard time keeping them in front of us, so their guards were able to get a lot of good looks at the basket. But I thought we did a good job of coming back and we had some chances at the end to pull the thing out, but couldn’t quite get it done. But I was pleased with the kids’ resiliency because it would have been easy to, once Paulding got the big lead, kind of just call it a night, but the kids kept battling and kept fighting.”

Junior 6-foot-8 forward Dylan Faulkner continued his fine start to the year with 28 points against the Patriots, but the Yellow Jackets are still looking for a couple of

guys to step it up in the scoring department and Layson is hoping it will come from a couple of now-basketball players like Preseason All-State selection Peyton Law and a few others.

Senior forward Jaylan Harris has been lighting up the basket early in the year, but was hampered with ankle problems against Paulding County and had to keep leaving the game.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do this week,” Layson said. “But I am looking forward to seeing the guys that are coming out and seeing where they stand. Like I said, a lot of them have experience, so I don’t think it will take them long to acclimate themselves to what we’re trying to do because they’re familiar with it. It’s just a matter of them getting out there and playing basketball again and playing against somebody again, because for most of them, I think it’s been a while.”

The Yellow Jackets are scheduled to return back to the Hive next Wednesday, Dec. 22, against Adairsvill­e. They will then resume play the week after Christmas when they go to Adairsvill­e Dec. 28-30 to compete in the Tiger Christmas Clash tournament.

 ?? Tim Godbee ?? Calhoun guard Caden Schild drives by a Paulding County defender for a running shot in the lane against the Patriots.
Tim Godbee Calhoun guard Caden Schild drives by a Paulding County defender for a running shot in the lane against the Patriots.
 ?? Tim Godbee ?? Jaylen Harris reaches up to the basket for a layup against Paulding County.
Tim Godbee Jaylen Harris reaches up to the basket for a layup against Paulding County.

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