The Monroe County Falcons are highlighted in many of the preseason basketball publications focusing on the upcoming high school season. Coach Steven Kirkpatrick has put together a group of experienced players with height, speed, quickness and a desire to play defense.
And that’s why the Falcons are the early favorites to take the title in the 15th District and the 4th Region.
“I think our community as a whole has been talking about this team,” said Kirkpatrick. “But when there are high expectations, that puts a lot of pressure on you. I have to do my job as coach to get the kids prepared and put them in a winning situation.”
And that winning situation could come in several different ways as Kirkpatrick works diligently to change his offensive philosophy. Because of his team’s quickness and athletic ability, Kirkpatrick County will look to push the ball every trip down the floor.
“I have always been more defense-oriented in the past. I have told people I was going to get out of that mold and I think this is the year where we can go up-tempo and really push the ball,” Kirkpatrick said. “I think I have some depth this year where we can get four or five guys off the bench.
“Sometimes, it is difficult to change a style of play. But if you’re not ready to change, you’re going to get passed by. A lot depends on the players you have and this might be the team where we can do that.”
Though the Falcons no longer have standouts Chad Wilson and Kegan Graves, the Falcons do return players that saw significant playing time.
“It will be important this year for our backcourt players to handle the ball and limit turnovers. We need them to also be able to score for us,” Kirkpatrick said. “Skyler Geralds and Dillon Geralds will see time in the backcourt. Skyler is a good ballhandler, can go left or right and is a good passer. Dillon Geralds is 6-foot-3 and at the guard position, he should be hard for other teams to matchup with.”
Kirkpatrick also said that senior Garrett Crowe and junior Gibril Summers will also figure into the fray. “Garrett is our only senior this season,” Kirkpatrick said. “We need him to score more this year. Gibril is also long and athletic. He’s really worked on his game to get better.”
Lincoln Arnett could see time at the guard position as well as John Geralds and Colton Myatt. “Lincoln is just getting out of football, but he can definitely help our team. He’s a great ballhandler,” Kirkpatrick said. “John Geralds can shoot the ball and knock down the 3-pointer. And Colton, who is a junior, should give us some good minutes.”
Kirkpatrick has several players he could choose from to play along the front line. “Devin Gearlds is probably a true forward. We want him to rebound and score down low,” the coach said.
Look for juniors William Goodman and Noah Curtis to also spend time on the floor. “William Goodman is a true forward and we’ve asked him to go inside and bang the boards for us this year,” Kirkpatrick said. “Noah Curtis hasn’t played in a couple of years, but he is 6-foot-1 or 6-foot-2 and scrappy. He will get inside and mix it up a little bit.”
Junior Tim Coe and sophomore Caleb Veach will also play significant roles this year for the Falcons.
Falcons open their season Tuesday at Franklin-Simpson.