When a team loses two of the most prolific scorers in school history, theyâ€™re not going to be the same. Thatâ€™s the case with the Lincolnton Wolvesâ€™ basketball program after losing Darren and Eric Wilson to graduation.
The Wolves, under the leadership of head coach Bob Cowie and the Wilsons, went 20-7 with an 11-3 Midwest 2A Conference mark. Cowie knows thereâ€™s no way the Wolves can escap losing the two guards unscathed, but he also believes he has players capable of collectively filling those shoes.
â€œTheyâ€™re two of the best that have ever come through Lincolnton High School. Theyâ€™ve been kind of a security blanket the last two years. Where they were used to look over their shoulder for them (Darren and Eric) to save them, itâ€™s their turn now. The talent is there, but itâ€™s just a matter of if theyâ€™re going to step up and do it,â€ he said.
Lincolnton returns Zack Gibson, Dusty Friday, Edwin Barber, Bradley Hunter and Kyle Snyder from last year. While all five were on the team only two saw significant minutes.
â€œZack is the only one that really played significant minutes last year. Weâ€™ll look for him to lead us with his experience. Kyle is the only other one that really played any minutes. He has some experience also, but there is really no one else that really has any varsity experience,â€ Cowie said.
Cowie also expects Friday, Hunter and Barber to contribute.
â€œTheyâ€™ll have a chance to help us, but theyâ€™re going to be pushed awfully hard by some of the younger ones.â€
Some of the â€˜younger onesâ€™ are Lance Friday, Demory Williams and PJ Hamright. Hamright is a 6â€™5â€ post-player who Cowie believes could be his dark horse.
â€œWe have several that have been successful on the JV level, and thereâ€™s always a question whether that will carry over to the varsity level.â€
Two factors the Wolves have working against them is their inexperience and the football team advancing into the second round of the 2A Playoffs, but inexperience does not always mean unsuccessful.
â€œThat will be something to think about with the success that the football team had that we got a late start. Thatâ€™s going to combine with the fact that we donâ€™t have much varsity experience,â€ Cowie said.
Lincolnton, who has a commitment to excellence, again carries high expectations for the coming season.
â€œWe have as usual high hopes and expectations. The general feeling is since weâ€™ve lost 90 percent of our scoring, that this is going to be a down year for us, but that doesnâ€™t necessarily have to be the case,â€ Cowie points out.
A different from the norm this year will be how much competition there will be for playing time.
â€œThere is going to be a lot of competition for playing time. There is not a whole lot of difference as far as talent-wise between a lot of them,â€ he said.
Dustin Metts, a 6â€™3â€ forward, sat out last year but Cowie believes he will make an impact this season.
â€œHeâ€™s strong, has some basketball skills and has the ability to do it.â€
That statement is the general consensus felt by manyâ€”they (the Wolves) have the ability to do it. The question is will they?
by John Mark Brooks