With plenty of inexperience and players from the football team just added to the mix, the Auburn High basketball team will spend the next few weeks working to forge an identity before region play begins in January.
"It’s kind of the team of unknown," said Auburn High head coach Chris Brandt. "In a way, we are very young. I have three sophomores on the team that sometimes I’ll even start two of them. Even though we have four seniors and the rest are juniors, most of them didn’t play varsity basketball, and if they did they didn’t get much experience."
The Tigers are led by point guard Quinnus Fletcher and Trevor Mashburn, who plays in the post.
"After that you can just throw anybody in there," said Brandt. "When I say it’s unknown, I was going back kind of looking at the first eight games, and somebody different has led us in scoring.
"I have to learn what chemistry, who’s the best to put out there. I can do mass subbing, which I’ve never done. But there’s really no difference from the bottom player to the top player. They’re all similar in size, all similar in speed. It’s just trying to figure out who works best."
The Tigers have gotten off to somewhat of an uneven start to the season, where they have pieced together a 5-4 record, including a 63-49 win over Opelika last week.
They will face two rematches this week on their home court against Charles Henderson tonight and Tallahassee on Friday.
The Tigers beat Charles Henderson on the road 45-35 in the second game of the season, but dropped a one-point, 38-37, game to Tallahassee the next night.
Both games will give the Tigers a chance to gauge how far they have progressed this season, Brandt said.
"That was one of those games that we came out and played really hard. I thought we’d struggle being so young, it being only the second game of the year. But we actually played really, really well and ended up winning," said Brandt of the Charles Henderson game. "I want to see if we have progressed; I know Charles Henderson has, so it is a good gauge."
Brandt added that Tallassee will also be a really tough test for the Tigers.
"They’re really dominating everybody. They had everybody coming back, and then they picked up a couple extra players. It’s going to be an extremely tough test for us," he said. "But I like to have competition, and once again it gives us another gauge of where we need to go."
After another stretch of three games next week, the Tigers will focus on improving leading up to area play in January.
"I think that will be a good time to actually get several days of practice," said Brandt. "Right now, what we’re getting is one here, one there, and it’s hard to put anything new in.
"I think the time between now and the first of January when we get ready to play the area games, I’m going to experiment with different lineups and just see what works best."