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Inexperienced Eagles strive for better chemistry

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By Sean Arnold

Edit: This story misreported Bronson’s record in the Dec. 14 edition of the Citizen.

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Bronson head basketball coach Kenny Thomas can’t stand selfish play.

He understands that for most teams, and especially his current Eagle squad, the sum truly is greater than the parts.

With a host of new varsity players feeling one another out, Thomas is putting the emphasis on better communication and team play at this early stage of the season. It’s a scenario that’s familiar to the young Chiefland team as well.

A handful of seniors regularly saw action for BMHS last season.

“We’ve got a lot of guys coming up from JV last year, kind of getting familiar with each other, starting to play together better,” the Eagle boys’ coach said. “Our problem was we’re not used to each other. They’re not in sync together yet, knowing what to expect from the other person.

“It means a lot, when you try to play as a team,” he added. “We’ve got a lot of guys that like to drop their head and try to do things by themselves. We don’t have anybody that good, we just don’t. We’ve got a few guys that every now and then get selfish. I just don’t like a selfish player.”

After an uplifting 61-60 win over Newberry in the opener, Bronson split its first four district games, beating Branford and Cedar Key while losing to top district foes Dixie County and Bell. The Eagles entered their holiday break at 3-2-1.

“We’ve just got to communicate better and get better defensively,” Thomas said.

A lot of the points by opponents are coming off Bronson turnovers, as Thomas said his team is typically turning it over 20 or more times a game.

“You can do that on teams that are not that good, but when you play someone that’s as good or better than you, you cannot turn the ball over 20-something times and think you’re going to win the ballgame,” Thomas said.

Bronson is led at point by sophomore Blake Homan, and is anchored in the paint by its big man, Damontra “Tra” Francis, who Thomas would like to see his team work its offense through more than it has in the early games.

In 60-60 tie with Mayo-Lafayette Dec. 8, Francis netted 25 points through three quarters.

Junior Cole Langston, sophomore Micah Hubbard, senior Jarius Thomas and Homan have also been in double figures for the Eagles in various games.

“We need to lean on (Francis) a little bit more, be a little bit patient on offense,” Thomas said. “Sometimes we get a little impatient on offense and we try to make things happen that are not there. We’ve got some guys that can shoot the ball, but they’ve got to know when to shoot the ball.

“Bell (5-0 overall, 4-0 in District 1A-7) is good about that. They shoot the ball with confidence, and they already know where their teammate’s going to be at. They move without the ball good. Shoot, they’re a good team.

“With Tra, most of the time he’s going to have the size and the height advantage. He’s got to learn, if he’s getting double-teamed, to kick out.”

Bronson is at Hawthorne Dec. 15, and then plays in the Holiday Shootout in Wildwood Dec. 19 and Dec. 20. BMHS hosts its annual Eagle Holiday Classic Dec. 28 through Dec. 30.