NORMAN — Southmoore coach Wes Brown hasn’t liked the make up of his team the last couple of years. In seasons in which the teams have played sub-par basketball, he had a difficult time finding role players on the team.
“I’ll be honest with you,” Brown said. “The last two years for sure, we’ve had 15 players that were all about the same.
Not one clearly 10 times better than anyone else. The attitude on the team the last few years has been a little bit of selfishness because they were all just about the same.”
But entering the 2013-14 season, Brown hopes that is a thing of the past. He believes this year’s squad has clearly defined roles and just as important, team chemistry.
“Now we are down to about six or seven that are clearly a level ahead of the next six or seven,” Brown said. “Those in the second level know it. They are supportive and they are working really hard to get into first six. So attitude is a little different there. More support.”
The results of this new found chemistry was seen in the team’s first two games of the year. They racked up wins against Stillwater and Ponca City at the Ponca City Festival before their home opener against Del City Dec. 3.
But that is when the SaberCats reverted back to past issues and lost by three to the Eagles.
“Beat Stillwater, beat Ponca City. Played well,” Brown said. “Then we came home against Del City, kind of wanted to show off in front of the home crowd. And forgot everything we worked on and everything that we’d done. Had a little bit of stage fright. Had a little bit of trying to do too much.”
Brown wants his team to learn from what took place in their first three contests and how well they played when they worked together.
“In the first two games, we were giving the ball up, making extra passes, hitting open shots,” Brown said. “Not trying to do too much individually. We work together pretty well and shoot pretty decent. We were phenomenal from the free throw line. We get along pretty good. Pretty good attitude on the team. That’s probably the best thing.”
Senior Preston Smith said it’s his responsibility to make sure the SaberCats continue to play as a cohesive group the entire season and not just in stretches.
“Stepping up is a huge part of this,” Smith said. “Taking care of everybody. We are a huge family. We need the chemistry. We don’t need any of the negative stuff. We love being around each other. We get along really well. We know when it’s time to get down and get ready for business.”
Smith is joined by Chelvin Webb and Darius Hodge as the team’s seniors who have been with the team for four years and seen the highs and lows. Brown is counting on them all for leadership.
“This year I think the team has a lot more heart than last year,” Webb said. “We have people supporting each other. Last year we didn’t have a lot of support from our bench and stuff like that. I just want be a better leader all around and encourage my teammates to play the best that they can. I’m going to bring it every night.”
The Cats (2-1) will host Norman North at 7:45 p.m. tonight at SMH. It’s their final game until after the holiday break.
“I think we can be tremendous if we just play the way we know we can play,” Smith said. “And gel together as a team. As long as we don’t separate we should be good and shock a lot of people.”
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