BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Veteran Southland squad looks to make noise
The Southland Rebels varsity boys basketball program is blessed with experience entering its 2019-20 campaign.
The Rebels, which have six seniors and three juniors on its varsity roster, return all of its varsity starters off of last season’s squad that finished 6-18.
“The seniors we’ve got have played on varsity since they were in ninth grade,” Southland coach Charlie Stormes said. “The classes before them didn’t have good numbers so these guys have played a ton. Hopefully, their experience will show this year.”
Three of the six seniors - William Tomblin, Shayne Tomblin, and Cyrus Luke - are fourth-year varsity starters.
William Tomblin averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds in the paint last season.
“He was an automatic double-double toward the end the season,” Stormes said. “He led us in scoring and rebounding.”
Shayne Tomblin averaged seven points and a team-high six assists last season.
“He will handle the ball-handling responsibilities for us,” Stormes said. “He does a good job distributing the ball.”
Luke averaged 10 points and seven rebounds last season.
“He will be our No. 2 guard,” Stormes said. “He has the ability to shoot it from the perimeter and drive to the basket.”
The other three seniors are Hunter Wynns, Ithan Gallardo, and Seth Hufford.
Wynns averaged eight points and six rebounds in the paint last season and Gallardo was a key defensive contributor.
“Hunter is a good rebounder that plays hard,” Stormes said. “Gallardo is a good defensive guard.”
Hufford is joining the squad after not playing last season.
“He will be in the mix as well,” Stormes said of the Hufford. “We’ve got six strong seniors.”
Stormes said he hopes to go eight or nine deep.
“Our three juniors will help us on the boards and sub in and out with some of our post players that are seniors,” Stormes said. “We don’t have many guards in the younger grades but we’ve got a lot of big guys that should help us defend the paint.”
Size is expected to be a strength for Southland in a guard-heavy Tri-County Conference.
“We've got some big guys,” Stormes said. “We’ve got four or five guys that are six-one to six-three. Hopefully, we will be tough inside and rebound well. We want to control the boards.”
Stormes hopes his squad is in the mix to win the Tri-County Conference by late February. Risco has won the Tri-County Conference at the varsity level each of the last three seasons. Gideon won the Tri-County Conference Tournament at the junior varsity level last season.
“Risco is still the team to beat,” Stormes said of the Tri-County. “They’ve won it three years in a row. Gideon will be right there with Risco. Clarkton will be good. Holcomb, North Pemiscot, and Delta C-7 are also much improved. I think the entire conference should be really competitive. It should be a lot of fun.”
Southland opens its season Dec. 2 when it hosts North Pemiscot.
“We hope people come out and support us,” Stormes said. “We hope to come out strong against North Pemiscot and set the tone for our season.”
Southland Boys Basketball Schedule