MOULTRIE – The Colquitt County boys basketball team rode a deep senior class and the theme “Why Not Us?” to a 13-13 record, two victories over Tift County and a second-place Region 1-7A finish last season.
But coach Tremaine Facison, in his third season as the Packers head man, faces a rebuild this year after the departure of region Offensive Player of the Year Elijah Scott, Tyler Walker, Montavious Ponder, Henry Daniels and others.
The 2020-2021 Packers tested the waters on Tuesday in a scrimmage at Thomasville. Colquitt lost by three to a top-10 Class AA team.
“It was a tough game,” Facison said. “It was back and forth. We’d lead by six or seven and then they’d lead by six or seven.
“Our guys are starting to buy in. But mentally, we’ve got to get stronger.”
As usual, the Colquitt County basketball team will get an influx of players once football season is over, but Facison likes the ones he is sending out on the court now, even though there is plenty of youth and inexperience.
“They are trying to do everything to a T,” he said. “And I’ve told them, ‘You are not going to be young forever. At some point, you are going to be the experienced team.’”
Colquitt will go into Monday’s 4:30 p.m. season-opener against a highly regarded Glynn Academy team in the Hugh McBride tournament in Hazlehurst with no seniors suiting up.
The juniors are Montana Edwards, Dy Williams, D’Morian Williams and Nathan Harden. The lone sophomore is Calvin Washington. Freshmen Lakeem Harper and Jeremy Murray are expected to contribute.
Harper, a 6-foot-5 left-hander, has a bright future, Facison said.
And he likes Murray, who played linebacker and running back on the Colquitt County ninth-grade football team.
“He is a workhorse,” Facison said.
Football players Lemeke Brockington and Omar Daniels played on the basketball team last year, but Facison is unsure if they will return.
He is counting on big Zy Brockington, “Baby D” Wheeler, I’Marius Bussie and Charlie Pace making the transition from gridiron to basketball court.
Wheeler was a contributor after football season last year when he was a sophomore.
“He’s got that energy, that tenacity, that want-to,” Facison said. “He’s just a ball of energy.”
Facison also is looking forward to Pace joining the team.
“He’s my style of player,” he said.
After taking on Glynn Academy, the Packers will be off until Dec. 8, when they travel to Bainbridge.
Colquitt will play at Dougherty on Dec. 15, and will participate in the Willis Valley Shoot-Out in Fort Payne, Ala., Dec. 21-23.
The Colquitt County boys and girls teams again will play host to the Vereen Sports Christmas Shoot-Out on Dec. 28-30.
“We are going to play some tougher teams,” Facison said. “I want us to be prepared for our region games.”
The games in the Vereen Sports Christmas Shoot-Out will mark the first time the Packers and Lady Packers will play on the William Bryant Court this season.
Facison said he thinks the month of road games will be beneficial for his team.
“Hopefully, it will bring us together, give us some camaraderie,” he said.