Coach Jonathan Ashley is hoping that his 2019-20 Ingomar Falcons will not be satisfied, but will cultivate a hunger for success that propelled his previous team to the state championship game in 2A.
"Last year's group of guys were the probably the hungriest team I've ever coached," Ashley said. "They wanted it, they sold out, the knew they had to defend it every night. We are trying to get back to that place, it may be a long road to get there."
The Falcons will have five seniors on this year's team along with junior Zach Shagars coming back from an injury as one of the key components for Ingomar and where they plan to find leadership.
"Zach's is the loudest voice and we miss him, we are different without him and having him back has been good," said Ashley. "Nathan Weeden and Clayton Stanford are more reserved guys personality-wise and we've really tried to stress to them that they have got to step into that leadership role more of calling on guys and they've got be more worried about more than just what they are doing. They've got to be pulling other guys along with them."
Hunter Bynum, Luke Roberts and Nyheim Jones are the other Falcon seniors that Ashley will be looking to for leadership.
Tyson Smithey and Spencer High are a couple of juniors that could make serious contributions to the Falcons efforts this year. Another junior that can help Ingomar's efforts is Eli Reed.
"We are really working with my freshmen and sophomores to try to push those guys to understand what it's going to take to play in the league that we play at a competitive level," Ashley said. "The motor, the toughness, the expectations of what it's going to take every night, every time you walk out there in practice. We need those older guys to set that tone and lead by example."
Ashley said that on any given night in 1A basketball that anything can happen and that his team needs to be focused on themselves, not on their opposition.
"Everybody else is going to present a problem without us compounding it," said Ashley. "We've got to concentrate on us and fix us, fix our attitude and our effort.
"We've got guys that played a lot of minutes and contributed mightily to a team that in a lot of eyes, not in mine or Coach Johnson's, but in a lot of eyes probably over-achieved last year. Same faces, same talent and it's going to come down to how hard they want to work at it and how much they are willing to push themselves is the X-factor."