Fifth year Central High School basketball coach David Muckle has seen his share of first practices.
Monday, the opening day for high school basketball practice across the state, looked like most all the other first days – sloppy.
“I thought our effort was good but our execution was spotty,” said Muckle.
What didn’t look the same for Coffee County was the court. Due to floor maintenance, which has been underway for a couple of weeks, the Lady Raiders were forced to move their practice to Westwood Elementary, which is not a regulation floor. The Raider boys practiced at the Manchester Recreation Complex.
“We had a lot of obstacles for one practice,” explained Muckle. “The floor wasn’t regulation so it is really hard to get a feel for where you are supposed to be. But with all the obstacles considered I felt like the girls had a good day – especially the upperclassmen.”
Muckle and the Lady Raiders will play at Cannon County in a play day Saturday with varsity scrimmages against Rhea County at 8 a.m. and Livingston Academy at 9 a.m. They will travel to Blackman the following weekend to scrimmage Antioch and Blackman.
“Livingston Academy is a state-caliber team and Blackman is one of the better programs in Murfreesboro,” said Muckle. “Our preseason schedule is tough but our regular season schedule is killer. “We open with a Ezell Harding team that won 26 games last year and then we play Page and Cannon County. We will be tested in a hurry.”
Despite the rough start Muckle is confident his senior-laden team can be the best he has assembled in his tenure at CHS.
“What I think is a feasible goal for us is to put the best team on the floor that we have had in the five years I’ve been here,” said Muckle, who led the Lady Raiders to a district title in the 2010-2011 campaign. “But it won’t be easy.”
Meanwhile, the Raider men spent the afternoon at the Manchester Rec Center.
“We only had four goals when we are used to six and that changes things when it comes to drills,” said CHS head coach Scott Givens. “But it is a great facility and we are thankful we were able to use it.”
Givens also expressed the difficulties of the first day of practice.
“I don’t think I’ve gotten through an entire practice schedule on the first day and today was no different. We are so young we are stressing fundamentals heavily on defense and offense.”
Read more about the Lady Raiders and Red Raiders in the Manchester Times basketball preview in the Nov. 14 print edition.