LEWISBURG — As Joe Smith enters his third season as Tri-County North’s boys’ basketball coach he is hoping to keep the program’s momentum going.
After going 14-8 last season, Smith is looking for the Panthers to have their first back-to-back winning seasons in more than a decade.
And they will have plenty of experience back to rely on.
The Panthers return four starters from a team that was 7-5 in the Cross County Conference last season.
Back are Brian Stinson, Preston Jackson and Preston Lairson.
Stinson, who will man the point, is a third year starter and returning captain.
Jackson is a second year starter and returning captain, who returns to play the post.
Lairson is also a second year starter and will play shooting guard.
“Each guy has played varsity for the last two years and (have) tons of experience. All are seniors,” Smith said.
Also returning are seniors Josh Heindl and Phil Lockwood, both are three-year varsity players, who split time starting last year. In addition to sophomore Dylan Stinson, who Smith said will challenge for a starting spot.
Sophomore Cooper Cole, in his first season at the varsity level, will add depth.
Smith believes his team has the ability to succeed.
“We can definitely be competitive,” he said. “We will need to come together as a team and build on last years success. We have a ton of experience coming back for us. Our team needs to trust each other on the court and know we will be doing whatever it takes to make each other better. “
Smith said the Cross County Conference race will be up for grabs this year.
“I think the CCC is open this year. I believe anyone can push you on any given night. It will be a lot of fun this year watch and see how it unfolds,” he said.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH