- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Spencer County Coach Jacob Bamore knew his young Bears might struggle out the gate this season, but his emphasis isn’t on how they begin, but how they end as he faces the task of building a young team into a confident squad by year’s end.
The difficulty of that challenge is evident after the first week of action, as the Bears have dropped their first three games, including a 65-50 loss to Lloyd Memorial to start the season last Tuesday. The Bears then traveled to Frankfort to tangle with the Western Hills Wolverines and fell 75-47, and hosted Christian Academy of Louisville Saturday, losing 71-45.
Barmore’s not happy with the start, but he’s also not surprised.
“We definitely expected to struggle for a while,” he said. “It’s going to take some time for this team to learn how to win.”
That struggle is due mostly to youth and inexperience. Consider that only one player taking the floor for the Bears on a given night arrived this season with any significant varsity experience, and that’s sophomore Logan Dunbar who was pressed into the lineup last year as a freshman. Fellow Sophomore Trey Wyatt saw very limited varsity action last year and beyond that, Barmore’s troops are very green.
One senior, Johnny Thacker returned to the team after playing JV ball a couple of years ago and junior Josh Sweeney is the lone player from his class. Barmore’s starting five last week consisted of Thacker and his brother Brian Thacker - a sophomore who has returned to organized ball after a break last season, sophomores Dunbar and Wyatt and 8th grade point guard, Brandon Miller.
“We have a very young varsity team,” said Barmore. “By all standards, we could very easily be a JV team by age.”
But Barmore said he’s not hiding behind the lack of age or experience.
“We make no excuses, we definitely want to win today,” said the coach. But with certainly one of the youngest lineups in the state, that might come later rather than sooner.
Instead, Barmore wants to see effort night in and night out. Admittedly, he said there were times where that was lacking during the first week.
“We expect the guys to come out and play hard every night and compete. However it may be a year before these guys become consistent. Right now we are taking too many possessions off on both ends of the floor.”
While effort can be corrected, there’s no cure for youth and inexperience except time on the court. Barmore said that’s more true for the young point guard Miller.
“I commend him on his ability to handle varsity competition as well as he has as an eighth grader. It’s a very tough position to be in,” said Barmore, adding that Miller is sometimes harder on himself than the coaches are.
Even for the lone experienced player in Dunbar, he is expected to be something he wasn’t last year - a leader.
“Dunbar is our only player with significant varsity experience. His role is changing in that last year we didn’t need him to be a primary team leader. This year we are going to rely on him tremendously to lead us both on and off the court,” said Barmore.
During the first two games, turnovers and mental mistakes have plagued the Bears. While youth could be a convenient excuse, Barmore said improvement is mandatory.
“They key to our team handling pressure will be very much about physical toughness and confidence with the basketball,” he said. “Our guys know we are going to be patient with them…however, we do expect them to improve on taking care of the ball.”
With the first week behind them, it would be a mistake to judge this team strictly by their record. Given their youth, it’s obvious the task Barmore has in front of him is building a team that can gain confidence during the season, and prove competitive in the immediate future.
“This year’s team cannot focus on wins and losses,” said Barmore. “Right now for us it’s about learning to play defense and finding our roles on offense.
The Bears will be back in action this week when they travel to Louisville to play Kentucky Country Day at the St. Francis tournament and then will return home on Tuesday to host a boys/girls doubleheader against North Bullitt. The girls will tip off at 6 p.m. with the boys to follow.