Yellowjackets are poised for a rebound season on the court

Yellowjackets are poised for a rebound season on the court
November 10
14:06 2021

The Carver Yellowjackets’ varsity basketball team had a rough time last spring, finishing with an 0-12 record on the season. Head coach Johnathan Stowe is heading into his third year as head coach and feels this year could be a breakout season for his team.

This season, Carver has moved classifications down to the 1A level. With one of the largest freshman classes and many of their underclassmen staying at home, there are high hopes for the Yellowjackets this season.

“We had a pretty good preseason and we have a few more students than we have had in the past, even though we moved down to 1A,” said Stowe. “We actually had about 40 kids come out for basketball, so we actually had to make cuts this year and normally that’s not the case.”

Stowe says his team has more length than they did last year, from the point guard to the center position. In the past, they have not had that luxury. They also returned several players from last year that will add valuable experience to the team.

“We got a couple of returners that should help us be successful,” Stowe said about his team. “One is Lovell Johnson; he was All-Conference Honorable Mention last year in the Western Piedmont 2A.  He is a senior and should be our leading scorer.

“We also have a couple guys on the wing that should help him out.  Jermaine May, he was actually one of the JV All-City guys a couple years ago, and our point guard is Jason Russell, who transferred from Shining Light Academy. Hopefully those three guys will be able to push us this year.”

For Stowe, last season was a tough year and it included some tough losses in games they had a chance to win. Even though his team did not win a game, there were a lot of younger players on the team who were able to get time on the court that will benefit them this season.  

“We had a lot of close games,” said Stowe. “We pretty much led over half of our games at halftime, we just kind of lost it in the second half. I think with us having more kids and older kids this year, we are going to have a lot more experience, especially in the fourth quarter.

“More than anything, last year helped us as a coaching staff become closer, because we have been through the fire and we have been through some real tough losses. It was just a learning experience all the way around, from the coaches to the kids.”

With the experience he has coming back, the incoming freshmen and the couple transfer students on the team, Stowe is encouraged about his team’s outlook this season. He has high goals for his team this season.

“I anticipate we will fight for the conference title,” he said. “We know that Winston-Salem Prep is going to be in the mix, we know that Bishop McGuinness is going to be in the mix, and we see ourselves being right in there with them. I see us really competing for the conference this year.

“I also want to see our guys being more responsible off the court and what I mean by that is you’ll probably see us in the community more this year. We have a lot more leadership this year, so the coaches won’t have to do as much handholding as we have in the past. For any coach, the first two years, you are just trying to lay the foundation, so most of the guys have been there for two or three years pretty much know what we expect, so it’s just up to us to execute.“

Stowe says one of the things that contributed to how last season turned out was the lack of practice and time spent with his team. Now that they were able to have a full offseason program, he knows his players will be better prepared for the year.

“We basically had no preseason workouts in the gym, we had no exhibitions, we had no preseason jamborees,” he said about last year. “This year, we actually had about 20 to 25 kids this summer that we were able to play in two jamborees and get some game action. In the fall we have had a continuation of those same numbers in our fall preseason workouts. It’s just a whole lot more on-the-court work that we are able to see this year.”

Stowe has been on the Yellowjackets’ staff for six years, but with this being his third year as the head man, he is more comfortable in his role. He says he trusts his staff and player leaders on the team to get the job done the way he wants to.

“I was telling my wife the other day that this is the first time I have ever come home and not been stressed out, not worried about who’s not coming to practice,” he said. “The guys are already holding each other accountable. I am not doing anything; I am pretty much just the CEO now and that just lets me know I have a good staff and I have good players that are all locked in. It’s really a good feeling and I am really excited about this year.”

Upon taking over as head coach, Stowe says he did not have any expectations when it came to wins and losses, but instead wanted to build his program on respect, responsibility, and relationship. His other focus was to make sure all his players graduate and become good citizens in the community.

The Yellowjackets’ football team had somewhat of a resurgence and Stowe is expecting something similar for the basketball team. He says there is somewhat of a culture change at the school that has been brewing in an attempt to return to the days of old when Carver enjoyed so much success athletically.

“It’s something that we have really pushed towards and part of our school improvement plan as a whole,” said Stowe. “It’s the Carver way. I believe that it’s an organic change from people working in the building that love the kids. 

About Author

Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

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



More Sponsors