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Wolverines look to develop toughness in hoops

June 5, 2012

East Webster boys basketball coach Corey Stidham, middle, instructs his team during a timeout at the Starkville Sportsplex Tuesday. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

The end of the 2011-12 basketball season left the East Webster Wolverines with a bad taste in their mouths.

Even though the Wolverines qualified for the Class 2A South State Tournament, they had to travel to Bassfield for a first round game.

East Webster suffered a 67-27 loss and finished the season with a 9-16 record so it didn't take coach Corey Stidham long to know where his team's focus needed to be in the offseason.

"We've got to get gritty and show some toughness," Stidham said. "We have got to be able to handle the basketball and handle pressure. Something that hurt us last year was pressure and we've got to develop a mindset with the toughness part which will help."

The Wolverines are once again participating in the summer high school league at the Starkville Sportsplex and had two games scheduled on Tuesday.

Stidham welcomes all of the action he can get for what he considers to be still a young team.

"We've got a few more places were going to get some extra games in," Stidham said. "Very few of us have ever seen the floor so we've got some real young guys. This summer we've got a bunch of 7th and 8th graders playing and just to get them that experience will be important. We're going to take our bumps and bruises."

Marcus Ward and Malik Jones will be next year's seniors that will lead East Webster.

Stidham said Ward and Jones are players with some experience that "need to set a tone for the rest of the guys in practice and off the court."

The weaknesses of the Wolverines will show, but Stidham said they will have to make up for it with toughness.

"We're going to have to fight for everything we get," Stidham said. "We're not going to be the most athletic team and not the biggest or fastest, but that's why we've got to use other things. We've just got to be tougher than the other team."

(Editor's Note: This is a story in a series highlighting high school basketball teams participating in the league at the Starkville Sportsplex. Other teams are scheduled to be featured throughout the summer.)

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