Tempo, team defense keys for RWA this season

Kevin Boozer Staff Writer

November 22, 2013

WINNSBORO — The Richard Winn boys varsity basketball team started off its season on a winning note, defeating Spartanburg Home School 58-46 in home action.

The Eagles were led by Cameron Cooper’s 24 points. Guard Patrick Pope added eight rebounds and eight assists. Joseph Goldin also chipped in 10 points for the Eagles.

“Goldin did a great job on their 6 foot 8 post player,” head coach Joe Pitt said. The Eagles returned to action Thursday against AAA SCISA school Hammond Academy in what will be an early test for RWA against a larger school and level of competition.

Pitt was pleased with the team’s opening game. He said this year he will rely on leadership from his four seniors, Mason Gibbons, Patrick Pope, Jason Branham and Joseph Goldin.

“We have some experience coming back,” Pitt said. “All of our returning players have experience from last year.”

Pitt said he expects solid contributions from Gunnar Hensley and Rob O’Connor who are in their first year in the program.

“Blake Pauley has not played organized basketball in two years but he has been impressive in workouts,” Pitt said. Fellow junior Matt Taylor came out for the team this year once football season ended, as did John Coleman and Mitchell Gibbons.

This year the Eagles have 13 players so Pitt said they will play an up tempo style. On offense they return All-Region performer Cameron Cooper and have another experienced wing player in Patrick Pope.

Jason Branham returns in his third year as point guard.

Last year his team slowed the pace and ran a half court offense to feed the ball inside to Reid Johnson. This year the Eagles are looking to push the tempo.

Pitt knows post players Gibbons (6 feet), Goldin (6 foot 1) and Pauley (just under 6 feet) and Coleman (5 foot 10) are undersized, so he is looking for energy, box out technique and hustle to make up for the size issues.

Defensive schemes can help out in that area, according to Pitt. RWA plans to play high court man-to-man defense to offset the height issue. They also will run a match up zone when possible.