North Forsyth hasn’t had the best of starts to its junior varsity basketball season. There’s not much high school game experience on board. Even worse is that there’s a scarcity of players on the Vikings roster who have played any organized basketball.
Given those facts, it’s no surprise that North Forsyth has struggled to stay competitive in nearly every game it has played so far. In their most recent outing, the Vikings absorbed a 61-29 loss to Glenn.
North Forsyth has only one win in its first nine games. That lone victory came in late November against Atkins when the hot-shooting Vikings burned the Camels by hitting 13 3-pointers.
“Things haven’t gone well, but there is improvement,” said Coach Jeff Moore. “We still have too many players who haven’t been able to adjust to the speed of the game at the junior varsity level. The practices are starting to get a lot more competitive, which is always a positive sign.”
The play of Austin Blakely and Reggie Thomas give Moore a reason for being optimistic about what’s in store for his team. Blakely, a small forward who has been converted to a shooting guard, has started to play with more confidence as a key contributor. In the loss to Glenn, he scored a team-high 14 points.
“Austin could become our go-to player,” said Moore. “He seems to be more comfortable out there, especially when he handles the ball against traps and presses. Most importantly, however, is that he’s learning how to compete.”
Thomas, an athletic power forward, has the physical tools to blossom as a legitimate low-post force at both ends of the floor.
“Once Reggie learns how to use his strength, he’s going to cause all sorts of problems down low,” said Moore. “He has a lot of lower-body strength, which should help him to become an exceptional player on the boards.”
If last season is any indication, early January might be too early to tell what’s likely to transpire for North Forsyth over the next eight weeks. A year ago, the Vikings failed to win an early-season game, which included disappointing losses in the Lash-Chronicle Holiday Classic.
But once the Vikings started Mid-Piedmont 3-A Conference play after the start of the new year, they went on a roll and posted a 9-1 record. Whether North Forsyth can duplicate that feat this time around is anyone’s guess. The Vikings open league play on Jan. 11 with a road game at Asheboro.
In the meantime, Moore will continue to place heavy emphasis on mastering the fundamentals of Basketball 101. In too many instances, the Vikings haven’t handled defensive pressure too well. Moore estimates that North averages around 30 turnovers a game. Aside from unforced turnovers, other areas of concern include boxing out and getting rebounds. The Vikings tend to fall behind early in games because of an inability to box-out on defense, which gives opponents multiple opportunities to score second-chance points.