Vols help Lyle win first game
First it was Austin Kinard, then it was Jordan Graham, Jon Michael Robinson and Adam Crittenden.
By the end of the night, there were 15 different players that scored points during a 72-55 victory Thursday night for the Starkville Academy Volunteers.
Chris Lyle, who won his debut as Starkville Academy's boys coach, was excited to see several players get involved.
"When it's a team effort, it makes coaching a lot easier," Lyle said. "You can go to practice the next day and say everybody contributed so let's work a little harder. It feels good and I really appreciate it."
On a night when both junior varsity teams won, along with the Lady Vols varsity, Lyle said it was good for the basketball program, the school and the community of Starkville.
"It was a clean sweep," Lyle said. "The students did a great job of coming out to support us."
The Vols came out with new uniforms and Lyle said that represented a new attitude, new energy and new effort.
Senior J.R. Gerhart, who led SA with 16 points, new the atmosphere would be "crazy" for the first home game. He was just ready for a fresh start.
"It was good to get something new, something fresh and something different," Gerhart said. "It's good to see the results."
The Vols jumped out to a 16-8 lead after the first quarter and upped that advantage to 39-23 by halftime after a follow-up basket by Zack Thomas beat the buzzer.
Lyle was glad to see that the emotion of the first game didn't work against his squad.
"Naturally, it's the first game so the kids are a little bit more amped up and we tried to guard against that," Lyle said. "That was the biggest concern that I had. I thought we'd be so emotional that we might do things a little bit differently. I thought we handled it very well.
"The kids are starting to believe in themselves, believe in the system, believe in what we're doing and believing in me. It's fascinating, being 30-years-old, that I can get these 16 and 17-year-old kids to believe in you, but I thank the Lord and everyone that came out and supported us. Hopefully this is the start of something really good."
Kinard followed Gerhart in the scoring column with 15 points, but those were the only two SA players to score in double figures.
More than seeing his name at the top of the scoring book, Gerhart was happy to see the Vols come out on the winning side.
"It feels good to get a win because we didn't experience that very much last year," Gerhart said. "It's good to get one under our belt, but we've got to be ready Tuesday because we've got Prep."
Starkville Academy hosts Jackson Prep in the second game of a varsity doubleheader. The boys game will begin at approximately 8 p.m.