Life Inside the Lines: Real season tips off with region

cfhoops-21dunk(Editor’s Note: Kyle Ewing is a junior basketball player at Carolina Forest who provides an inside look at the program in this series of articles.)

Halfway through the season, it’s finally time to start region play.

Coming off the winter break, we sat at 6-6, an even record, before falling to Hoggard (NC) on Wednesday. The Panther Classic didn’t go exactly as expected, and neither did the Dan C. Joyner Poinsettia Classic, as we finished 1-2 in both tournaments. We played some tough competition and showed flashes of greatness at times, but at other times we showed a lack of teamwork.

Spending four days as a team in Greenville has already proven to have bonded us together and gave us plenty of opportunities to get to know some of our teammates that we were not necessarily previously close to. I know this chemistry will soon show on the court as we still struggle to find our team identity.

Having played several different starting lineups and bench rotations throughout the season, it is a never-ending task of putting puzzle pieces together to combine our biggest strengths. With injuries to three players over the break and one suspension, the rotation was shaken up even more, but one thing that remained a constant was our unmatched effort.

Even in our losses, some of them being blowouts, our effort never dwindled. As a team, the one thing we can always rely on is each and every player coming into the game with a full tank of energy and providing the best minutes they can to benefit the team. If we can translate our in-game effort to practice every day and focus on what we need to improve on, I have no doubt we can fix our mistakes and reach our full potential in time for Friday’s region-opener against a very strong West Florence team at their place.

This week is a vital one, as we have two non-region home games with a tough away game in between against one of the better teams in our region, and even the state. If we can get three wins this week, I know our confidence and overall success will snowball further into region play, where it matters most.

Our region looks as strong as ever this year with Conway, West Florence and Sumter ranked in the top 10 in the state, and even Socastee having an above-average teams. It will be a tough grind, but I know nobody wants to win the region as badly as we do, which can elevate us to new heights and bring us above and beyond any and all competition.

As long as we keep up the effort and stick to our principles of energetic defense, unselfish offense, unmatched hustle, and the team-first mindset, nobody can beat us and we will be back on track and headed for the state championship in no time.

Photo by Prep Stars Media

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