After a 2-17 campaign last season, the West Marion Trojans basketball team is aiming to take a big step forward this year.
The Trojans (1-1) are already halfway to matching their win total from last year, and head coach Mark Stringer said he expects their win column to grow dramatically.
“We’re going to be a lot better than last year,” he said. “We were real young last year with mostly ninth and 10th graders so we got them all back and we had one (Qavonte Swanigan) that was injured all year and he’s back. He’ll be a lot better for us.”
Stringer added that Swanigan gives the Trojans a big boost with speed and quickness both in transition and in the half court.
On top of being young playing in a district that featured several senior-laden teams, the Trojans were much smaller than a lot of their opponents, but now they have some added size. Ka’Marius Husband joins the team at 6-foot-4 with great athleticism for his size. Then Kobe Pittman, who is 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, played sparingly last year but will have a bigger role this season, according to Stringer.
Nine of West Marion’s 11 players on its roster played football, and Stringer said there isn’t a single area the Trojans can’t stand to get better in.
“All of the above,” he said of what they need to improve in. “Everybody just got back from six months of football. That first game (against Seminary) was nasty looking. It’s getting better, though. It’s just going to take some time as they get used to basketball again.”
West Marion wants to use its speed and quickness to its advantage, especially in transition, while limiting turnovers, according to Stringer.
In their season opener at Seminary Dec. 3, the Trojans fell behind 20-9 at the end of the first quarter but played much better the rest of the way in a 64-45 loss. Larry Magee led the way for West Marion with 16 points, while O’Marion Husband added eight.
Friday night at home the Trojans got their first win of the season 55-33 over Salem with several players having solid games. Magee and Swanigan tied for the team lead with 15 points each with both knocking down a pair of three-pointers, while Octavious Harvey had nine and O’Marion Husband had eight.
West Marion played host to Enterprise Tuesday night, but results were unavailable at press time. The Trojans will stay at home to host East Marion (0-7) Friday night before playing Enterprise in a rematch on the road Monday.
Pictured Above: West Marion's Jartavious "Tater Rabbit" Martin brings the ball up the court for West Marion Tuesday against Enterprise. | Photo by Joshua Campbell