The Watson Chapel Wildcats (0-2) will look to pick their first win of the season against the J.A. Fair War Eagles in Little Rock tonight.
After dropping their first two games of the season, Watson Chapel Head Coach Marcelle Goins believes that they could easily be unbeaten if it wasn't for them committing too many small mistakes. For example, last week the Wildcats went 8-22 from the free throw line as they dropped a road contest to Searcy 70-60.
Along with the free throw miscues, Goins pointed to turnovers and the lack of reps for some of their inexperienced guys.
"We're 0-2 but we could easily be 2-0," Goins said. "We have to fine-tune the small things. We missed 14 free throws against Searcy and went 4-13 from three. Between that and turning the ball over it'll be hard to beat anybody. We'll fix that, and it also comes with playing time and reps."
Looking at the roster, the Wildcats have seven seniors. With that many upperclassmen, one would think that experience would be a strong point, but as Goins stated they only return one starter from last season's team.
"On paper, we look like we're a veteran team because we have seven seniors, but contrary to that we only have one returning starter from last year, our point guard Kavon Mitchell. We're starting from scratch."
As far as personnel, Goins is still waiting on that one guy to step up and be a leader vocally and by example. Through the first two games, the Wildcats have been led in the points column by sophomore Jordan Tillmon. Prior to the season, senior big man Willie Vaughn looked as if he'd be one of the guys that they leaned on for production. Unfortunately, Vaughn sprained his ankle against Searcy and he will sit out against the War Eagles as his status is day-to-day.
"Our starting center Willie Vaughn is out with a sprained ankle," Goins said. "Kavon Mitchell, we want him to be a leader as a point guard. We talk about it every day we need that person to step up and be a leader, no matter what grade they're in or who they are. Production wise Jordan Tillmon has been are most productive averaging 11 points per game."
J.A. Fair (2-0) and their longtime Head Coach Charlie Johnson beat Cabot and Claredon in their first two outings. Goins hasn't seen the War Eagles play this season, but he knows the type of teams that Johnson has had over the years.
Through their first two games, the War Eagles have four seniors who are averaging double figures scoring the ball. The most decorated of the group, senior forward Deaveon Banktson is averaging 15 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks per game.
"I haven't seen them this year but me knowing Coach Johnson and Fair, they'll stay in the matchup zone," Goins said. "If we knock shots down we should be good. My kids play hard and that's something I'm not having an issue with. We have to value the basketball, we're stressing that in practice, and getting up a lot of shots."
Watson Chapel and Fair are set for a 6 p.m. tip-off.