This basketball season will be a learning experience for the Stone High boys’ team.
Entering his 14th season, coach Todd Miller has just one player, Cortez Dennis, who saw significant game time last season, when the Tomcats went 19-9.
“This is the most inexperienced team I’ve ever had,” Miller said.
There is hope, with Caleb Armstrong returning the basketball after a two-year absence.
“He was our best player on the freshman team that year,” Miller said.
Armstrong is one of only four seniors on this season’s squad; the other 13 are either juniors or sophomores.
He’s joined by Javun Johnson, A.J. Petty, and Zion Thomas.
Thomas and Petty also took breaks from basketball.
The inexperience showed Saturday when the Tomcats fell to Picayune, 51-33, in the Gulfport Classic.
“We kept it close until halftime,” Miller said. “Then, we opened the second half with three turnovers in a row and they took advantage of that.
“They were a much older team.”
Dennis paced the Tomcats with 15 points.
“We’re still looking for that second and third scorer,” the coach said.
The Tomcats will not have Armstrong and Petty until the football season is complete.
Miller expects Forrest County to be the team to beat in Region 7-4A while Greene County and Poplarville will also be strong.
As far as the other two regional teams the Tomcats will face, Miller is not so sure.
“Sumrall and Purvis are unknowns,” he said.
What may prove to be a benefit for the Tomcats before regional play begins is the tough schedule he and Lady ’Cats coach Sam Smith put together.
The schedule includes a lot of 6-A teams in November and December.
“We will be battle tested when we get to district,” Miller said.
Miller will once again be assisted by Russell Dubuisson.