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Young Aggies

Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2008 by Sand Mountain reporter

Young Aggies


Published November 11, 2008

Patrick Harding will field perhaps his most inexperienced team as he enters his 10th season as varsity boys basketball coach at Albertville High School.

The Aggies tip off their 2008-09 campaign by playing host to Douglas tonight.

Sophomore T.J. Vines is the only returning starter from last season’s squad that finished 21-11.

Seniors Drew Epperson, Alex Mastin and Madison Tharp received varsity letters last winter. Maurice Spurgeon is Albertville’s other senior.

The squad features five juniors — Joel Armstrong, T.J. Pams, Dareon Thompson, Derek Hayes and Trent Kuehnert.

Sophomores Donte Spurgeon and Michael Reeves complete the roster.

“T.J. Vines played a reasonable amount of minutes last year and three others — Drew, Alex and Madison — lettered,” Harding said. “The rest are just babes, kids from our JV or our freshman team last year.

“If there’s one word to describe us, inexperience would be it.

“We’ll start three sophomores tonight — T.J., Michael Reeves and Donte Spurgeon.

“Most of the time, we’ll have four guards and a forward out there.”

With four guards on the floor, the Aggies will feature an up-tempo style, which is a departure from Harding’s past teams.

“The last three years we had a core of Dustin Duckett, Levi Stephens, Beau Dahlke and Patrick Nolan that were pretty good at a certain style of play,” Harding said.

“With the players on this year’s team, their skills are more conducive to another style of play.”

Harding said the Aggies must continue to improve their halfcourt defense and rebounding.

“We’ve worked on and talked a lot about team chemistry and team attitude, because really this is the first time this bunch has been together,” Harding said. “We’re trying to blend into a unit, because it’s kind of a new day for us.

“We have to practice hard every day and learn how to work hard.

“In the past, some of the guys have depended on their talent or athletic ability, but now they’re going to be playing older, bigger and stronger guys, and athletic ability will only take you so far. We have to develop some skill.”

The Aggies will compete in Class 5A, Area 13 with Boaz, Southside and Etowah.

Southside eliminated them in the area tournament semifinals last year.

“You never know this time of year who has what, but I have to think Boaz is going to be good,” Harding said.

“Southside returns their best player and has a pretty good program, and Etowah is always very athletic and has caused us problems in the past.

“Our area should be very competitive and balanced.”

The Aggies have reached the finals of the Marshall County Tournament six times this decade, including two years in a row.

Guntersville downed AHS 57-51 in overtime in the 2008 finals.

“DAR looked pretty good against Douglas (in its season opener), and Asbury is going to be good,” Harding said. “Arab will be good. They’ve got a big team.

“Our county is going to be balanced as well. Any number of teams could win it.”

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