By Amanda Perkins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Bryan Carty is the new head coach of the Salem Tigers after serving as assistant coach last year.
“After back-to-back seasons of only winning eight games, we are going to make each game the biggest game of the year and see where that takes us,” he said.
Last season ended on a sour note, as Salem lost in district play to a team they had beaten twice already. “We played a lot of close games that we should have won but just couldn’t get over the top,” said Carty. “Many games we had a lead in the 4th quarter and just couldn’t hold it. All of those things should make this team driven to get back on the right track and win some games.”
Two players graduated: Jordan Shults and Hayden Wilson. Shults was a 6’6” rim protector who could dominate in the paint and was solid down the stretch. Wilson was a hard worker and guarded the opponent’s best player.
But the Tigers boast size and athleticism on their roster despite their player losses.
Lucas Morrison steps into a larger role in 2019 after recovering from a broken foot last season. The 6’9” junior spent the summer in the weight room and is ready to apply that to the court. “He will look to be a very important piece of what we do on both ends of the floor,” said Coach Carty. “He has really good feet and soft hands around the basket; he will be very tough for opposing teams to guard.”
Braiden Carmack, 6’2” junior, has also improved his game over the summer, and his athleticism should translate on both ends of the floor.
Garrett Connell “is easily one of the best athletes in the school,” said Carty. The 6’2” sophomore has worked on his shot in the off-season and will be a skilled perimeter shooter and a tough defender.
“This group of boys has put in a lot of time in the off-season to get better,” said Coach Carty. “Time in the weight room and the gym has paid off in terms of increased athleticism and strength as well as skill on the court. We played in some very tough tournaments over the summer and proved to ourselves that we can play with just about any team we will see on our schedule. That time spent getting better should make this group fun to coach and hopefully translate into winning more games.”
The Tigers will host Newburg Nov. 23 in their season opener.