This past basketball season was the most successful one for the boys’ program in the history of Sacred Heart of Jesus High School.
The final record of 26-7 is the best in program history, and the Knights’ finish in the Division II-A state quarterfinals is also the furthest the program has made it in the postseason.
But that doesn’t mean the Knights’ loss at Clarksville Academy 76-61 was any easier to take.
“It hurt because I loved the way this team was playing,” said head coach Nick Beauregard. “We’d won 12 straight games, and the mentality this team had taken to the game itself was a business-like approach.”
That mindset came in early January after the Knights had suffered their only loss in district play to city rival Trinity Christian Academy at home.
“We didn’t play well at all that night, and we had practice scheduled already for that next day – a Saturday – and I nearly called it off because I was pretty upset with the way we’d played,” Beauregard said. “But I didn’t, and I was ready to have a serious discussion with the guys about how we need to approach each game with a high standard for ourselves and how we play because everybody was wanting to knock us off the way TCA had the night before.”
It turned out, Beauregard didn’t need to make that speech to his team.
“They came in that morning, and the energy they brought to practice was maybe the best energy they’ve ever brought,” Beauregard said. “And they kept bringing it to every practice after that.
“And they brought it to games, and they set that high standard for themselves and continued to play to that standard. I credit them and our coaching staff – Charles Dotson, Joseph Beauregard, Taiwan Boyd and Copeland White – for raising that standard.”
It took 13 games before the Knights lost again, but unfortunately for them, it was in the state quarterfinals.
Two seniors’ careers ended on Saturday – starter Kelsey Turner and Omari Hood.
That means four starters return, and in the middle of the pain of the season-ending loss two hours away from home, Beauregard said he liked what he saw from some of his players.
“Our point guard, A.J. Morman, he was hurt, and a couple others were hurt too,” Beauregard said. “But before we left the locker room Saturday night, they said this isn’t happening next year.”
Beauregard said one thing that really struck him during the loss and even in the win in the preceding game against Silverdale Academy from Chattanooga was his team’s lack of size against their opponents.
“Getting bigger is one thing we’ve got to do,” Beauregard said. “There’s going to be a lot of running in our offseason, but hitting the weights and getting bigger has got to be a priority for us too.
“We do OK when we’re playing against teams here in our own district and region, but when we go up against teams from East and Middle Tennessee – and I saw this last year too – there’s a size difference there that hurts us. So we’ve got to try to match up with them that way.”
Beauregard said he plans to schedule more games away from Jackson as well to give his players a chance to play more away from their comfort zone.
“We know the teams here in Jackson, and I think we’re comfortable playing them,” Beauregard said. “So I plan to put some teams on our schedule that aren’t necessarily teams we’ve played a lot in the past so we can get out of that comfort zone and really push ourselves and learn to play uncomfortable before we get into that position in the postseason.”
Brandon Shields, firstname.lastname@example.org