Graduation hit the Section varsity boys basketball program harder than anyone.
The Lions lost four starters and five players in all from last year’s team that went 17-10 and was ranked No. 5 in the final Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 2A Boys Basketball Poll.
The roster shakeup meant the Lions’ summer work was not only about improvement but about gaining varsity level experience, head coach Derek Wynn said.
“We got out of it what we needed too,” Wynn said of Section’s summer. “We took some lumps, but that doesn’t surprise you when you’ve got a lot of new guys. Even our returning guys, a lot of them didn’t have a lot of minutes. It was good to see us get out there, get that (experience) at the varsity level. I think it’s made our guys understand they’ve got to get better and but a chip on their shoulder to get better. It was good experience and they’re using it to get better.”
Playing for the Lions this summer were seniors Matthew Brewster, Trevier Porter and Staton Robbins, junior Bo Bradford and sophomores Caden Bradford, Alex Guinn, Gabe Hilley, Drake McCutchen and Logan Patterson, Section’s lone returning starter.
Section played in play dates at North Sand Mountain, UAH, Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. Other than facing in-state teams Sylvania, Red Bay and Clements, all of Section’s summer opponents were teams from Tennessee and Georgia.
“We played against some teams with different styles than we’re used to seeing,” Wynn said, “so that was good for our guys to see.”
Wynn, who is entering the second season as the head coach at his alma mater, said the focus since the team’s summer games ended has been in the weight room.
“A lot of the problem we had last year was just that we weren’t physical enough,” Wynn said. “We lost some games because of that. Our guys see it and they’re trying to fix it.”