It’s not the way you want to begin the season if you are Philip Simmons boys’ basketball coach Garrett Campbell.
One of his players tested positive for the coronavirus and the team was under quarantine. As a result, the Iron Horses did not play in what was supposed to be the season-opener against Hanahan on Tuesday.
The team met virtually during the quarantine, as the players worked out on their own.
“We checked in and we held each other accountable,” Campbell said. “And, we tried to stay somewhat in shape.”
The Iron Horses, who will now open the season Saturday against the Lucy Beckham Bengals, went 10-16 last season, will be challenged to find quality replacements for Marc Haight and Jaylen Green. Both players topped 1,000 points for their careers.
But not all is lost. The team, which begins its fourth season, has talent on board.
Antonio Leak returns after averaging 12 points and four rebounds a game.
“He’s been in the program for four years,” Campbell said. “He’s familiar with the program and knows our expectations. We expect him to contribute even more this season.
Another potential star has a last name that is familiar with Iron Horse fans. Junior Miles Haight has been a starter for two years, and averaged nine points per game last season.
“Again, it’s a case where Miles knows the program, knows the expectations,” Campbell said. “It’s nothing new.”
Sophomore Jac’que Greene earns praise from Campbell. He averaged eight points and seven rebounds per game last winter.
“He’s strong and attacks the glass,” Campbell said. “He gives us an inside presence, which is what we need in our region.”
Senior Jackson Jordan has been on the team for two years. He also played football for the Iron Horses. He brings athleticism and an offensive presence to the table.
Matt Lemon and Robert Watson are battling for a starting berth. Lemmon has a high basketball IQ and is effective at both ends of the court. Watson is athletic and has good court instincts. He makes plays at both ends of the court.
The Iron Horses will compete in Region 6-AA, which underwent a transformation. Woodland, Lake Marion and Ridgeville-Hardeville are new to the league. Campbell predicts that Burke and Woodland will provide the biggest obstacles to the Iron Horses’ bid to win
the region championship.
The Iron Horses have made progress under Campbell, a Myrtle Beach native who played for the College of Charleston. The Iron went 1-12 during the 2017-18 season and followed that up with a 7-15 record. The team reached double figures in victories last winter and is ready to take its next step.
The team has developed depth since its inception. That’s going to be critical because the Iron Horses will play at a faster pace and Campbell wants his team to have energy in the fourth quarter.
“We are a close-knit group,” Campbell said. “They know the strengths and weaknesses. We are young, but experienced. We have played in the big games. I am confident in the guys. They will get the job done.”