With the uncertainty surrounding the 2020-’21 basketball season, the Cumberland County Jets will look to navigate uncharted waters with players in new roles this season.
“It’s a new, different year,” said Cumberland County head coach Will Foster. “I’m excited to see how these young kids, who will be in different roles, step up and play. Like everyone else, we’ve had a few kids out due to the tracing.”
CCHS went 18-12 last season and finished runner-up in the District 7AA tournament. The Jets are 29-1 overall against 7AA opponents since joining the district in 2017-’18.
Cumberland County loses three senior starters from last year’s squad in Reese Dykes, Mason Wyatt and Trevor Parsons. Trystan Miller also won’t return after moving out of state, leaving four starting positions up for grab for the Jets.
“We’ve got a new starting five other than Kole Torres,” Foster said. “As for those spots, it depends on what night it is.”
The Jets aren’t without experience, as an expanded rotation last season meant more playing time for this season’s squad.
Alongside Torres will be Jackson Inman, who’s role with the Jets will increase in 2020-’21. Devin Lane and Carson Conatser are expected to compete for starting positions alongside Adam Floyd and Jaxon Reed.
“I expect big things out of Kole and Jackson,” Foster said. “Devin Lane is going to be one we count on a lot this year. He’s going to be a guard playing the five position; we don’t really have a true five.
“We’ve got a bunch of guards and we’ll be going like that,” Foster said. “I think we’re going to have a fun and successful year.”
Cumberland County’s play style will resemble years past.
“Offensively, it’s not going to change a lot,” Foster said. “We’re still going to try and get up and down the floor, and we’re still going to try and pressure for 32 minutes. I believe that’s a very successful way to do things.
“We’ll play a little more zone than we have in the past because we lack that five position,” he added. “It’ll be a learning curve for all of us.”
Even with new personnel, the Jets’ goals stay the same.
“Our goal is always to finish first in the district and win the district tournament,” Foster said. “This year, the way the districts and regionals are set up, it’s of the utmost importance. If we finish first, we get to host the first round of regionals on to the regional championships.”
District foes include Bledsoe County, Sequatchie County, Grundy County and Marion County.
The Jets’ non-district schedule provides challenges as well, as Cumberland County will face York Institute, Livingston Academy, Cookeville, Stone Memorial, Monterey, Pickett County, White County, Rhea County and Clarkrange.
“We always have a pretty tough non-district schedule, and it’s no different this year,” Foster added.
COVID-19 presents an additional challenge for the Jets.
“You have to be willing to change with what’s there,” Foster said. “We’ve told everybody that they have to know everything, offense and defense. Whatever hits us, hits us. You just have to keep going forward with it.”