Iron Horses varsity boys' basketball team launches second season

Philip Simmons High School basketball coach Garrett Campbell isn’t caught up in the wins vs. the losses as the Iron Horses enter their second season as a varsity basketball team.

Last year, in their inaugural season, the Iron Horses won only four games, including one against a varsity foe as they experienced some major growing pains.

Time is on the team’s side as they prepare for Region 6-AA play later this season. The coach knows that the future is just that, and not the present.

“We are in our second year, and age wise, we are still a junior varsity team,” said Campbell, who came to Philip Simmons last year after a stint as the West Ashley High junior varsity coach. “We have some juniors, some freshmen, sophomores and eighth graders. We have two players who transferred in, so we’re still a new team.”

The Iron Horses are 1-4 to begin the season, but there have been some close encounters, which is a good experience.

The Iron Horses, who lost numerous lopsided decisions last winter, began the 2018-19 season with a close loss to tournament host Georgetown in front of a packed house. They then lost to C.E. Murray in overtime. They won their first game by a 48-point margin over Palmetto Scholars. The Iron Horses lost to Bishop England, 64-55, after trailing by only four at halftime.

The improvement should be more evident in early 2019 when conference play begins.

“The more we play together, the better we will be as a team,” Campbell said. “Once we figure out what it takes to get over that hump, we will be a much better team.”

This year’s team has juniors, so next year, the class of 2020 will be well represented on the roster.

“It will be our year to make a move in region play,” Campbell said. “Next year, we will put all our marbles in the basket and see what happens.”

Jalin Green, a 6-foot-4-inch wingman, is one of the Iron Horses to watch. He’s long and skilled, and is blessed with athletic ability.

Marc Haight, a transfer from Palmetto Christian, is the point guard. He’s the proverbial coach on the floor and should be a big plus in running a smooth offense.

Sophomore guard Antonio Leak is athletic while Javier Collins-Smith begins the hoops season after an impressive fall season as a member of the Iron Horse football team. Campbell describes him as the team’s junkyard dog because of his passion and ability to rebound. The other starter is 6-foot-5-inch Griffin Williams, who should be able to disrupt things under the basket on defense. He also has the ability to step outside and shoot an effective 3-pointer.

“Four of the five (starters) are juniors, so that’s why we are looking forward to next year,” Campbell said. “Our mindset is, ‘We’re sick of losing.’ When you feel that way, it’s going to help.”

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