The 2012-2013 season came to an end for the Apalachee High School boys basketball team last week, but not before the Wildcats capped a turnaround which certainly falls under the “remarkable” category.
For those of us who have been around that long, we remember how a young AHS squad struggled as they recorded just one victory two years ago.
Coach Kevin Morris, however, was one who saw the bigger picture and was able to look down the road at what was likely to transpire.
The Wildcats were very young two seasons ago. However, moving the clock ahead to the 2012-2013 campaign, one could see just how much the players had grown, mentally and physically. The result was a strong regular season, double digit wins and a trip back to the state tournament.
This year’s senior class had plenty of talent, plenty of leadership and plenty of desire to do well. In the end, they did just that, although I’m sure everyone involved would have liked to have seen the postseason dance last another song or two.
Morris has been a steady hand for the program. He’s been there through the ups and downs and while he is an emotional coach on the sideline during games, he’s also level-headed enough to keep things in a proper perspective for the long haul.
Thinking back two seasons ago, Morris never got down on the team. He never once criticized a player for not giving everything he had.
He wasn’t going to throw his players under the proverbial bus just because they were young and not recording as many victories as the coaches in the stands thought they should be.
The coach stuck by his players two years ago and, in turn, they stuck with him. That bond of trust led to a successful 2012-2013 season and while several key players will graduate and move on to the next stage of their lives soon, they will be remembered for what they accomplished on the court this season.
This group of Wildcats has shown they understand hard work and understand what it takes to be successful. They have left a positive mark not only on their program, but on their school as well.
As for Morris, the coach is no doubt already back at work, pondering ways to help the program continue to move forward. It won’t be easy next season with so many players graduating, however, that’s the kind of challenge Morris enjoys most. Something says, it will definitely be fun to watch.
Chris Bridges is sports editor of the Barrow Journal. Send comments to this column to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.