Men’s basketball off to hot start

November 25, 2015

By HARRISON HAMLET Bulletin Sports Writer

Patrick Henry Community College’s (PHCC) men’s basketball team (6-1) has stormed out of the gate this season, winning six in a row since losing their opening game.

Head coach Kenny Wade said that consistency is going to be the key for the Patriots moving forward as they hope to push deep into the NJCAA playoffs this season.

“This year, we’ve had a pretty strong showing since that first game,” Wade said. “We just have to keep it up and stay consistent. Moving forward, we need to take it up another level.”

The Patriots hit the teeth of their Region X schedule beginning in December and Wade said that the conference is a deep one that will challenge his squad on a nightly basis.

“We’ve been talking to them, on any given night from top-to-bottom, anybody can beat anybody in our conference,” Wade said. “We just have to be prepared to play night in and night out. The team that is most consistent is going to be the one that comes out on top.”

With the goal of consistency in mind, Wade said he has changed his approach this season to fit a team that has more of a half-court focus than some of us fast-break focused teams in the past.

“We actually came out and I like to push it up and down, but I have seen with this team that we have to mix it up a little bit,” Wade said. “We’ve been mixing up a little zone, a little sagging man and a little man-to-man. It’s just switching it up a little bit from the past, and the guys have been responding to it pretty well.”

Despite the different feel on the court, the group has more sophomores than in the past, something that Wade said has been a big help in creating a winning atmosphere in the locker room.

“I have more sophomores returning this year,” Wade said. “I haven’t had that luxury in previous years. It’s been a big help, they are helping with the younger guys.”

Wade pointed to Jerel Jennings, Keyshaun Johnson, Tavion Petty and Paris Jamison as strong offensive players that could play a big role for the Patriots this season. But, Wade also noted that PHCC will not be relying on one player to score night in and night out.

“We don’t really have a main man, on any given night it could be any of the guys,” Wade said. “That way, other teams can’t prepare for one guy. A lot of times, teams prepare to shut one guy down, but we have some other weapons that are going to be ready to step right in and do just the same thing.”

The Patriots don’t play again until Dec. 2, when they will be coming off of a 12-day layoff. Wade said that the break around Thanksgiving and then another break around Christmas are scheduled to allow both players and the coaching staff to recharge.

“The break gives us a chance to reenergize, rest our bodies and refocus going into the next stretch between now and Christmas,” Wade said. “Not only do the players need to be reenergized, but the coaching staff does, as well. So, I think it’s a good thing for all of us to sit back.”

“Us as a coaching staff, we can reflect on the good things we are doing as a team and the bad things, then adjust accordingly,” Wade continued. “For the players, it gives them a chance to go home, some get to see their families, get a home-cooked meal, then come back ready to finish out this semester strong. I think it’s a good thing, it’s good for everybody.”

The Patriots will play at home on Dec. 2, Dec. 5 and Dec. 16 before the Christmas break. They will host Caldwell Tech at 7 p.m. on Dec. 2.

Filed under: Men's Basketball