Minor: “We know we’ll get every team’s best shot”

Minor: “We know we’ll get every team’s best shot”
December 31
00:00 2015
Photo by Craig T. Greenlee
Above: East Forsyth’s Josh Wiley (15) heads down court after teammate Sayyid Dalton (on floor) tipped a loose ball in his direction during the finals of the Lash-Chronicle JV Tournament.



One mission has been accomplished. Now there’s another hill to climb and conquer.

Yes, the basketball season is still young and East Forsyth is eager to achieve more. After winning its first-ever Lash-Chronicle JV Tournament title last week, the Eagles look to deliver a repeat performance as kingpins of the Piedmont Triad 4-A Conference. A year ago, East Forsyth ran the table in league play and finished up at 10-0.

“This team understands that nothing will come easy for us,” said coach Rodney Minor of East Forsyth. “We cannot assume that all we have to do is show up and we’ll win. Since we finished undefeated in the conference last year, we know we’ll get every team’s best shot every time we take the court.”

From all indications, East Forsyth (10-1) is built to take on all challengers. Not only are the Eagles two deep at nearly every position, but they’re able to play at any tempo. It also helps that they have more than enough offensive balance. Minor has five players who average eight points or more per game.

“This is a fun team to watch,” said Minor. “They play unselfishly and don’t mind giving the ball up to get the best possible shot. With the balance we have, there’s no need for us to have to rely on one or two players to do all the scoring every night.”

Given East Forsyth’s early success, there’s always the possibility of a let-down. Except for a surprising loss to Reagan, the Eagles have won handily in every outing. Minor is pleased with the results, but knows that his team must improve to stay ahead of the opposition.

“As well as we’ve played, we’re still gelling as a team,” he said. “I have to admit that the team chemistry is a lot further along than I expected. Everybody is still learning the nuances of how each individual plays. They’re picking up on things such as knowing where certain players like to get the ball and how to best communicate with each other on defense. As long as we continue to play the way we know how, we’ll be fine.”

A major plus for East Forsyth is the versatility of its roster. This team has the personnel that’s equipped to operate from half-court sets or run the floor in a fast-paced game.

Everything starts with pivot player Connor Sparrow, the Lash-Chronicle MVP. Sparrow takes up space and punishes defenders in the post. His size (6 feet 5 inches, 250 pounds) make him a difficult cover on the low blocks. Sparrow, however, isn’t the only scoring option.

The Eagles have a mini-squadron of dependable perimeter shooters in Tanis Samuels, Sayyid Dalton, Avery Hall, Josh Mahaffey and Josh Wiley.

Defensively, this team can be dominant. That’s what transpired in the Lash-Chronicle final when East Forsyth limited Reynolds to six points in the first quarter. The Eagles ended up winning by 10 points (68-58). The score, however, doesn’t paint an accurate picture of how thoroughly they dominated.

Even though East Forsyth is on top of its game, it’s far from being a perfect team. There are still times in games when mental mistakes, particularly on defense, have allowed opponents to score easily and get back in contention. Minor knows that in the coming weeks, his team will face stern challenges in conference games that figure to be hotly contested. In those types of games, momentary lapses could prove costly.

“What it all it comes down to is us doing the little things,” he said. “We’ve got to hustle back on defense and not allow teams to score easy points in transition. Sometimes we’re slow in making our rotations on defense, but those are things that can be corrected.

“Overall, I like the direction we’re going in. We have a good core of players who know how to get the job done.”


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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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