Sparta returns a strong core of upperclassmen looking to improve on last season’s 9-15 record.
The head of that group is senior Collin Teague. Teague averaged 14.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game last season.
“Collin had a break out year last year, leading the team in scoring and rebounding. Has worked hard in the off season to get stronger,” Sparta coach Larry Brown said.
Fellow seniors Austin Brown and Josh Whitchurch also return after seeing fulltime starting duties last year. Classmate Casey Purple started in half the games last year to give Sparta four seniors with significant starting experience. Whitchurch led that group with 7.9 points and 5 rebounds per game. Brown was just behind him at 6.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Purple chipped in 4.7 points and 4 rebounds per game.
Juniors Eric Gonzalez and Gatlin Jackson both saw varsity time last year and will have expanded roles this year.
Sparta did lose both starting guards to graduation, which will be something to watch in the early going for the Trojans.
“We have question marks at the guard position with the graduation of both our guards from last year,” Brown said. “Taking care of the ball and limiting number of turnovers will be key to our season. (I) feel like our strength will be our size. Several guys are going to have a chance to earn time at the guard position. Regardless of wins/losses, I know our guys will play extremely hard both in practices and games.”
Senior Isaiah Sanchez, junior Justin Lutrell and sophomores Logan Phillips and Hunter McGraw will all be new players to watch at the varsity level.
Sparta opens the season on Nov. 16 at home against Norwood.