That will change this weekend as the Callaway teams start off with a bang playing both county rivals.
Callaway will open today at Troup, and then entertain LaGrange in the home opener on Saturday.
Both Callaway coaches say their players are looking forward to facing off against someone else, and they’re eager to see where their teams stand in terms of progress since practice started two weeks ago.
Boys’ coach Terry Hayes, whose team went 12-15 last season and made it to the state tournament, finalized his foster on Friday and his team will travel to Troup today with six seniors, six juniors, two sophomores and one freshman.
Deyano Martin’s girls went 5-17 last season after winning just two games in 2010-11.
The Lady Cavs start off with three seniors, two juniors, three sophomores and four freshmen.
“We’re going to continue to work hard and continue fundamentals as always,” Martin said. “I think our conditioning is improving a little, it’s still not where it needs to be, but we’re still doing a lot of work on conditioning and fundamental work. The girls are starting to learn the system a little better, but we’re still not where we need to be yet.”
First up for Callaway will be a Troup team that opened its season with a 71-27 loss to Northside-Columbus last week.
Callaway will then play a LaGrange team that has been dominant this season in starting 3-0.
“One thing about it, we’re just going to have to play our game and slow the game down if possible,” Martin said of the matchup with LaGrange. “I think their style is they want to run and right now they’re pretty good at doing it. Eventually we’ll want to be a running team, but I don’t think we’re ready to run with them yet. We’ll try to slow the ball down a little bit and go right at them. At some positions, we may have a size advantage. We’ll have to slow down and try and make as few mistakes as possible.”
As for the boys’ team, Hayes believes he has two very difficult teams to start out with which will be a good test for his guys and show where they need to be as the season gets started.
On Friday at Troup, the Cavavaliers will have to contend with the likes of Lakeithin Buckner, the team’s leading scorer, as well as the Tigers’ overall agility.
“They’re real quick too, “ Hayes said. “They do a good job of pressuring the ball full-court. If you turn your back on them, they’ll take the ball from you and double team. We’ve got to do a better job of not turning the ball over. When we have the opportunity, we’ve got to score.”
Hayes is also well aware of LaGrange’s team and was quick to direct kudos to the Grangers as the Cavaliers will host them on Saturday.
“They’re real tough and well-coached,” Hayes said of the Grangers. “They have really good size and are very quick, very talented. I have to give coach (Mike) Pauley a good deal of praise. He does a great job with his kids. Those kids right now are clicking on all cylinders to me. It’s going to be a big, big challenge to slow them down, but we’re going to do our best Saturday night at our place. It will help tremendously being at home, but again, it will take more than just being at home to slow them down. They’re a tremendous ball club.”
Callaway’s coaches been working on a feverish pace trying to prepare the team for the season, having only two weeks to do so after the football season ended with several players and Hayes himself involved with the gridiron program.
“Things are going pretty good,” Hayes said. “We had pretty good practices on Monday and Tuesday. Hayes pointed to a trio of players who have been leading the way during those practice sessions who he also expects to lead in the games including Tyrell Tigner, last year’s leading scorer, Nehemiah Jones, and Brandon Bridges.
“They’re doing a very good job of leading,” Hayes reports. “I’m struggling on the number four and five positions. I really haven’t nailed down those positions yet.”
Those two slots may go to Patrick Strickland, Kel Kyles, Joe Brown and Jamia Hopson, but the coach has not decided yet.