Southside’s Isaiah Coleman, left, defends teammate Octavios Gulley during practice on Thursday. The Panthers, like many other Alabama High School Athletic Association teams around the state, officially began practices on Monday in preparation for the 2012-2013 season. -- Robert Hudson

Southside setting the tempo in return to basketball practices

Published 8:27pm Thursday, October 18, 2012

With the season little under a month away, the Southside Panthers boys basketball team was one of many that returned to the floor this week.

With Monday marking the first official day Alabama High School Athletic Association teams could begin basketball practices, the Panthers have been hard at work establishing the fundamentals with an emphasis on defense.

“Pretty much the first week or two, we’re working on conditioning and pretty much the basic fundamentals of defense,” said Cedric Brown, head boys basketball coach of Southside High School. “Of course, we’re doing some offense with layups and rebounding. And we’re basically trying to establish a tempo in practice. We’re trying to go ahead and establish a tempo that we can carry over to the games.”

As the Panthers spent much of Thursday’s practice going through defensive drills, Brown said the first couple of weeks of practice have been about establishing a tempo for games and defense because it’s the belief of the program that defense is key to winning games on the court.

“Simple fact is, here, we’re a true believer that if you cannot stop anyone, then you cannot win a ball game,” Brown said. “That’s why we focus so much on defense and the aggressiveness and tempo right now. Pretty much, our key word for the year is going to be tempo.”

The Panthers are set to begin the season in new territory, as they will now be a member of Class 3A, with new area opponents in Excel, Straughn and Opp. The Panthers finished last year in the sub-regionals of Class 4A.

Despite the move, the Panthers will maintain games with local rivals Keith, Dallas County, Selma, and will welcome Ellwood Christian Academy to their schedule and the AHSAA.

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