It has been a summer of change for the North Sand Mountain varsity girls basketball team.
Not only did the program lose a large senior class, longtime head coach Tracy Vest retired from the Alabama Educational System and took the same position at Rhea County High School in Evensville, Tennessee.
Stepping in as the team’s new head coach is Jeremiah Haynes, a former Sylvania High School standout who spent last season as an assistant coach for the Scottsboro High School varsity boys basketball program.
Haynes, the son of former Section, Woodville, Scottsboro, Ider and Sylvania head coach Glenn Haynes, said working with the team and getting to play the summer games were beneficial to him and the players.
“It was good for us to get out there and for me to see them play and us try some things,” Jeremiah Haynes said. “We’re going to be a young team, (so) the experience was good for us. We wanted to build some team chemistry. I wanted them to get the experience and see us play hard, and if we’re messing up, mess up with giving total effort.”
Playing for NSM this summer were Jessi Weldon, Jaycee Weldon, Jasmine Higdon, Vicky Hassell, Madison Croft, Lexi Hartline , Candice Rimas, Kaitlyn Davis and Kolbie Bobo. Davis and Higdon are NSM’s only seniors.
North Sand Mountain played two days in a team camp at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and also took part in a play date at Glencoe High School, where the Bison played the host team and Sacred Heart Catholic of Anniston.
“I thought we got better,” Haynes said. “We’re going to keep working and hopefully we’ll continue to get better and then peak at the right time (during the season). This is a community that loves basketball, so it’s important to (the players). We’ve got a good group. They want to get better. The games helped us get reps, helped them get comfortable with what we’re going to do. They’re doing everything I’ve asked of them. I’ve been pleased with everything so far. They’re doing all they can do and that’s all you can ask.”