The Auburn High basketball team will go through a transformation before the Tigers take on Beauregard on Tuesday, as the Tigers welcome players from the football team into the fold.
The lack of a Thanksgiving tournament is a blessing in disguise, said Auburn High coach Chris Brandt, who noted that this is the first time he can remember the team didn't participate in a holiday tourney.
"It actually helps us out a lot. I got the football players and we’re able to try to get different lineups," he said. "We’re going to experiment to find who has the best chemistry on the floor."
That experimentation is likely to continue throughout December as the Tigers prepare for region play after the New Year with a team that returns only one starter in Justin Brooks, who joined the team and led the Tigers in scoring in last Saturday's 57-43 win over Columbus only a day after finishing football.
"He’s going to be our captain, and he’s been on our team for three years, and he has the most leadership," said Brandt.
The Tigers will also lean on a core of players, including Jay Dye, Caleb Kariuki, Trevor Mashburn, Dallas Watkins and Tommy Nesmith, who have the most experience on the lineup.
"We are a very young team as far as more inexperience," Brandt said. "We’ve got seniors, about seven or eight seniors, but a lot of them haven’t had that game-time experience on the varsity level, so we’re going to have some growing pains but I’ve already seen some good things from the three games that we’ve played."
The Tigers will also be a short team, with no player currently on roster listed as taller than 6-foot-4. That will necessitate a shift in style of play.
"I was kind of looking through the rosters of all of 7A, and I think we might have the smallest team in the state, so we have to have a different kind of mindset, a different kind of approach with how we’re going to play our defense. We’re going to be more picking up teams full-court just for the fact that it would be hard for us to just sit back in a man or a zone, half-court.
"I think they’re up for the challenge."
The Tigers (2-1) travel to face Beauregard at 7 p.m. Tuesday.