Ken Klinger is the kind of guy who has a sunny outlook on a rainy day.
He is getting a chance to test his demeanor. In this, Klinger’s first season at LaGrange Academy, his Warrior boys basketball team has been running on a slippery slope with rubber- soled shoes.
The Warriors have been up and down. LaGrange Academy has been consistently good and consistently bad, all in the same season. LaGrange Academy is 5-12 overall, and the Warriors have a 2-9 record in the region in the Georgia Independent School Association.
But that is not a total surprise. The Warrior boys have a new head coach, Klinger, and a brand new basketball system. During the course of the season there have been issues and growing pains.
Klinger has been on call like an emergency room doctor in the attempt to cure the aches, and pains and basketball problems of the Warriors.
“We want to be a bigger, stronger and faster program. We are trying to build from the ground up,” said Klinger.
He has challenged his team to make the necessary improvements in order to win a few more games. The LaGrange Academy basketball players are learning. The Warriors are cutting down on their turnovers.
LaGrange Academy is dribbling and passing the ball over full court pressure a lot better these days. The Warriors are working the new basketball system, which Klinger has installed at LaGrange Academy.
“We’re taking care of the ball, and our defense is better. We’ve had some hard practices,” said Warriors senior guard Christen Copeland.
There has been a change in attitude, and the team morale is on the rise for the LaGrange Academy boys. Riley Hess, the 5foot-11 Warrior senior, has noticed some changes for the better for LaGrange Academy.
“We are trying to finish strong. We’ve had some close games. We want to play as hard as we can,” said Hess.
Junior forward Treyveon Reeves is doing his part, too. He’s a basketball contributor for the Warriors with his much appreciated inside game. The 6-foot-2 Reeves is averaging nine points per game for the Warriors.
Reeves is a part of the possible solution for the LaGrange Academy basketball team.
“We have to keep our heads up,” said Reeves.
He and Copeland have created an on-the-court repoire. The two players are meshing, and that is a good thing for the Warriors. Copeland is getting some favorable results too, including an average of 18 points per game.
He is also hitting the glass for eight rebounds per contest, on the average. The Warriors are getting more competitive.
“We have been in a groove. We won three out of four (games). My guys have been buying into the system, and we’ve been working on the man-toman defense,” said Klinger. “The kids are great. We have some team unity. We have improved a lot.”
The Warriors are not the same team that they were just two months ago.
“We’re running our motion offense. We’re feeding the ball to the post. We have some athletes who can attack the basket,” said Klinger.
LaGrange Academy has found a new weapon with sophomore Andrew Knight. He is a smoothshooting, hard-playing floor leader.
“Andrew is picking up his game, and he has a quick release (on his shots). He’s hit some three-pointers,” said Klinger.
Sophomore guard Silas Liechty is another Warrior player, who is showcasing some poise and a deadly jump shot. Liechty drained six three-pointers in a recent junior varsity game against Piedmont.
Liechty lifted the Warriors past Piedmont, 4645. Liechty also hit the game-winner in the final seconds with a three-point hoop. The 5-foot-8 Liechty plays for the Warrior varsity basketball team as well.
The LaGrange Academy boys will host Oak Mountain on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The varsity girls game will tip off at 6 o’clock.
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