When talking about his team, Kevin Morris typically does not become too high or too low emotionally.
Wins are good, losses are not so good and there is usually room for improvement. During games, however, Morris can be seen pushing and encouraging his team to victory. In the first portion of the 2012-2013 season, there has been plenty of wins for the Apalachee High School Wildcats.
“Our confidence is continuing to grow,” Morris said. “When you are winning, everyone is happier and everyone is willing to work harder. You would think when you lose you would want to work harder, but it’s human nature I guess to be inspired by success.”
Morris, who has been a constant for several seasons for the AHS program, has seen highs and lows. Such is the nature of high school athletics. However, an off-season decision to move to an up-tempo, all-out-pressing and fast-break style of play seems to have energized the Wildcat players.
“In games, we want to have played so fast that a lot of times our opponent is not able to take care of the basketball as the game goes on,” the coach said. “It’s the core of basketball.”
With a 9-2 overall record and 4-2 mark in Region 8-AAAAA, the AHS boys are currently on a seven-game winning streak. The team has not played, however, since a Dec. 22 non-region win against Monroe Area. Unlike other area teams, the Wildcats did not participate in a holiday tournament.
“There are some negatives and some positives to that,” Morris said. “We would like to keep playing, but with the pace we have been on, it’s also good to have a chance to get our legs back under us. We played three games in four days recently. I know it was rough on my voice.”
The team’s lone setbacks this season were against Clarke Central and Cedar Shoals.
“Part of our problem in those losses was the fact we didn’t rotate on defense,” Morris said. “Those two teams were as athletic as us. I feel good though that we get to play them again. I think we’ll have a good chance at winning the second time around.”
The Wildcats have held practice sessions during the Christmas break. With school out of session, the players have been able to concentrate solely on basketball.
“We will fine tune some things and work on putting in a few new things,” Morris said. “We’ll be ready to play again when we travel to Salem. We’ve played everyone in region but Salem and Heritage.”