HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - After a seven-win campaign, a year ago the Oak Grove boys basketball squad has certainly raised its game to a new level.
The Warriors have already eclipsed their 2016 mark with eleven wins. Blame for this turnaround can be traced to energy and execution in preparation.
"We got a lot hungry," Warriors senior post Noah Harris said. "We're practicing way harder. That hurt us last year so we just wanted to come out this year and show that we can do it."
Oak Grove coach LaRon Brumfield runs an intense practice where constant movement is prevalent.
"You know you practice more than you play so you want to make your practice more game like as much as possible," Brumfield said. "If you don't practice hard you won't play hard. So, we try to emphasize coming out, working hard and playing hard in practice."
Senior guard Winceton Edwards can't deny this.
"It's challenging every day," Edwards said. "It's more challenging than this actually. He just tries to make it more challenging and more aggressive and stuff like that so when we get in the game it will be more easier."
With a large group of last year's team back, Brumfield feels the experience of falling has helped his team rise
One player who didn't experience the lows of last year is Edwards. He played for Oak Grove his first two seasons before transferring. Now, he's back and leading the way with 19 points per game.
"(He's) pretty crucial," Brumfield said. "Just having somebody that can really stroke it and put it in the basket has been very significant for us. I think it's even helping with the other guys. Loosening them up. They're able to get some easy shots because of him He's been a big help for us so far."
Edwards had a point to prove the minute he stepped foot on the floor this year.
"My mindset was just to really dominate everybody in front of me," Edwards said. "Because I think me coming from a private school they think the competition was easier and I'm just here to show them that it's not. It's all the same and I can do it against anybody."
With a tough district slate looming, Brumfield and his athletic and deep crew know they can't get caught up in their early performance.
"All teams have goals to get to the state championship, the state playoffs," Brumfield said. "But we still have to remain focused and take it one practice at a time, one game at a time. You know it's a long season."