By Chris Parker
Larry Brown enters his seventh year as the head coach of the Sparta basketball program and 21st overall this year. He will have to replace two graduated all-conference players from last season’s 10-16 squad.
Leading the returning players is senior Dakota Lafferty who averaged 13.6 points per game last season. He also pulled down 6.6 rebounds per game to go with 3.2 assists per game.
“He will be our leader both on and off the court,” Brown said. “(He) has worked extremely hard in the off season to improve his game.”
Junior Hunter McGraw also returns after seeing some starts last year. He averaged 5.2 points and 2.1 assists per game.
Brown has a host of players that will competing for varsity minutes including: Justin Luttrull (senior), Erik Gonzales (senior), Gatlin Jackson (senior), Logan Phillips (junior), Caden George (junior), Carson Lowery (junior), Dexter Loveland (sophomore), Steven Brown (sophomore), and Kavin Walker (sophomore).
That competition will make for some intense practices for the Trojans.
“Practices should be very competitive and guys should push one another get better because so many different guys have a chance to earn varsity minutes, we have some decent size, some guys who can make shots and I expect our effort to be great,” Brown said.
Cutting down on turnovers will be a focus this year.
“We must improve on taking care of the basketball,” Brown said. “We averaged to many turnovers last year, which really hurt us in several close games.”
Expect this version of the Trojans to improve throughout the season.
“Overall expectations are that we will play hard and compete and be playing our best basketball when the playoffs roll around,” Brown said.
Sparta opens the season on Nov. 22 at Norwood.