By David Howell
COFFEEVILLE – The Blue Devils opened the basketball season last Thursday night with a narrow loss against county rival, the Coffeeville Yellowjackets, 62-49.
“It was a tough environment for us to open our season with,” boys basketball coach John Sherman said about an away game with a county rival in a packed gym.
“Our team didn’t quit, we battled to the end and were able to cut the lead to seven points after being down by 19,” Sherman said about his young team’s effort.
Sherman took over a struggling Blue Devil basketball team last year, and notes that his young squad is showing improvement.
“We have several juniors on the roster, this year it is time for them to step up and show leadership,” Sherman said, adding that he had only lost one senior from last year’s team.
While only recording one win last year, Sherman also noted that his squad has changed divisions. Division rivals this season include Ackerman, Bruce, Eupora, Hamilton, Hatley and Bruce.
“It is a divison we can compete in,” the coach said.
His roster includes 17 players, including eight players who just started practice at the close of football team. This year, the squad consists of one senior, six juniors, two sophomores and eight freshmen.
Sherman stresses practicing basketball fundamentals and instilling confidence in his team as crucial for a successful season.
“We are trying to build a championship ball program here, and that all starts with fundamentals,” Sherman said.
Blue Devil team statistics from the Coffeeville match include: 20 – 59 for shooting; 2 – 13 at the three-point line; 6 – 10 at free throws; 11 assists; 19 steals and 24 turnovers.
The Blue Devils next game is at Falkner Thursday night after Tuesday night’s game against Vardaman was rescheduled.