North Jackson varsity boys basketball head coach Zac Barringer and Woodville head coach Brian “Bubba” Smith walked the sideline, calling out offensive and defensive sets, shouting instructions and praising good plays.
It’s still months away from the start of the 2019-20 high school basketball season, but both coaches looked to be in mid-season form.
They admitted their teams aren’t, but both liked the way their teams performed during an annual summer play date at North Jackson High School on Tuesday.
The AHSAA permits high school and middle school basketball teams to participate in summer competition for four weeks each summer. That four-week period concludes next week.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Smith said. “That’s the first time we’ve had everyone together. I thought they played pretty good together.”
Barringer was also pleased with his team’s effort. North Jackson enjoyed a perfect day, going 3-0 with convincing wins over Oakwood Adventist, Huntland (Tennessee) and Asbury.
North Jackson has spent the summer trying to play at faster pace, and Barringer said the Chiefs are becoming more effective in the up-tempo style.
“When I came here, this is the way I wanted to play. We’ve had to slow it down more just based on personnel,” Barringer said. “We’re a lot deeper now, so we can get up and down more and use our depth to hopefully wear (opponents) down.”
Meanwhile, Woodville went 1-2 in the event, defeating Smith’s son Blaine’s Ider team — Blaine Smith took the head-coaching job at Ider last month — before falling to Dade County (Georgia) and Geraldine.
The Panthers lost six seniors from last year’s team and are mixing some returning players in with those moving up from the junior varsity team.
“In the summer I’m not real worried about wins. I’m looking for effort, looking at individual players to see if they’re improving and what they need to work on,” Bubba Smith said.
Barringer said he enjoys his team getting to host a play date, so much so he’s added another one for next week. The coach said the summer competition is enjoyable for coaches.
“It’s fun to get to hang out with coaches you know that you don’t really get to see much during the season,” Barringer said. “It’s a good way to get to see everybody, talk and play some basketball without it being as tense as it would (in the season).”