Prep seeks to the run the table for success

Prep seeks to the run the table for success
January 28
00:00 2016


It’s taken a little over half the season for Winston-Salem Prep to re-establish its reputation as a formidable factor in JV basketball.

At the start of the week, the Phoenix was just a game above the .500 mark at 7-6. Given its record and the fact that there are three weeks left in the season, Prep will fall short of achieving a 20-win season for the first time in two years. Even so, that doesn’t mean that the season is a wash – far from it.

Prep (4-1 Northwest 1-A Conference) still has much to play for. The only conference loss was to Bishop McGuinness (62-60 in overtime last month). The two teams had a rematch on Tuesday in a game that could help determine whether it’s the Phoenix or the Villains who end up in the first place at the end of the season in mid-February. Prep has won the unofficial JV title in the Northwest 1-A for four consecutive years.

“We’ve gotten a lot better since the [Lash-Chronicle] tournament,” said coach Bill Tibbs. “Watching them now, you can tell that they’re getting more accustomed to playing together. We’re looking to finish strong over these final seven games on the schedule.”

How well Prep defends will go a long way in shaping how the season ends. The Phoenix typically wears opponents down with full-court presses and traps. That approach has changed, and will continue to evolve over the final weeks of the season.

“This group is so young and is not as experienced as my other teams,” said Tibbs. “That’s why I’ve had to make some changes in my coaching style. We’ll attack with a 1-3-1 trap, but we won’t do it full court. We’ll also play some zone. Offensively, we’ll run a lot more half-court sets than we have in the past.”

Personnel-wise, Prep will not have the services of top scorer K.J. Watson, a 6-foot-3 swing player who moved up to the varsity after the Lash-Chronicle JV Tournament. Watson, who averaged a little over 18 points a game during his month-long JV stint in December, was voted Lash-Chronicle MVP in 2014.

Watson’s promotion, however, shouldn’t create any noticeable decline in terms of putting points on the board. Tyren Hairston and Jalen Crawley, who are interchangeable partners in the backcourt, have continued to deliver as a potent scoring tandem. Hairston averages 22.3 points a game and Crawley contributes 15.2 points a game.

Zach Austin, a rangy freshman wing player, has emerged as a lethal 3-point shooter with exceptional range. Austin averages 11.4 points a game.

“Tyren and Jalen aren’t what you would consider pure point guards,” said Tibbs.” But both are good ball handlers who can make things happen against the press. Zach has been up and down, which isn’t unusual for freshmen players. With him, it’s all about developing game-in and game-out consistency.”

Now that Watson has moved up, freshman Mike Montgomery (7.6 points per game) has gotten more playing time at shooting guard. Energy and determination, said Tibbs, are Montgomery’s strong suits. “What stands out most about Mike is his desire and ability to compete for every minute that he’s out there on the floor,” said Tibbs.

About Author

Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors