The Nation Ford Falcons boys’ basketball team is out to prove a lot of people wrong this season.
Picked to finish last in Region 3-4A, the Falcons will feature six seniors on this year’s squad to go with six juniors, a pair of sophomores and one freshman.
Coming off a 13-13 season that saw Nation Ford lose in the first round of the 4A playoffs to Dorman on the road, Falcons head coach Michael Tew said the goal is to again get back to the playoffs and he isn’t putting any weight into the last place pick.
“I feel like we are better than the bottom of the pack,” Tew said. “We will be more balanced in scoring.”
Nation Ford has just one returning starter back and lost the majority of its scoring with the graduation of Riley Hilton and Mike Campbell.
Looking to take a bigger role this season will be junior Hank Tuipulotu. He averaged just four points a game last year, but played in a nonstarting role for most of the season. Tew said he is expecting more out of him this year.
“I think he is ready,” Tew said. “He is going to step up and assume more of a leadership role.”
Tew is also counting on junior Cam Holmes and senior Elijah Jennings for big contributions on the offensive side of things. Jennings will be the starting point guard for Nation Ford.
“He is ready to help us score,” Tew said. “I have been impressed with him on the court.”
Tew said his biggest concern is having the team play as a unit this season. So far that hasn’t been a problem.
“We have good chemistry so far,” Tew said. “Hopefully our strength will be defense. I have been pleased with how the kids have picked up on things.”
Nation Ford opens the season this week in the Clover Optimist Tournament by playing Westminster Catawba in the first round. From there they will play either Dutch Fork or McBee.
The Falcons first home game this season will be Dec. 2 against Lancaster. The Falcons non-region schedule consists of games against Chester and Marvin Ridge as well. They will play Clover Dec. 19 in its first Region game before the Christmas break.
Nation Ford will then travel to Chesterfield for a holiday tournament Dec. 29-31, before picking back up with its region schedule after the break.