New coach, new system.
That about sums up the New Franklin Bulldogs basketball team this season under first-year coach Ross Dobson.
After finishing 13-13 overall and 8-4 in the Central Activities Conference in 2016-17, the Bulldogs are looking to take the next step this season under Dobson with two returning starters and 10 returning letterwinners.
New Franklin will also have plenty of ample bodies to put on the floor this season with 16 players suited out for the 2017-18 campaign.
Dobson said for one he is excited for this year’s team for many reasons.
“We will have a nice balance of upper and lower classes that will be contributing this year,” Dobson said. “Our team will be working hard on the defensive end by picking up the pressure against opponents and the pace of the game on the offensive end.”
Dobson also has his thoughts on the CAC this season. He said the conference race will be a competitive one among all the teams.
“I feel that anyone in the conference can win it,” Dobson said. “All of our conference match ups will be key games because the conference is so well balanced. The games the boys’ get ready for are the games against Glasgow and Sturgeon since they have been at the top of the conference the past few years.”
New Franklin’s team goals also suggest that the Bulldogs plan on being in every game this season. Dobson said for starters they want to battle and win as many games as possible, and then they want to stay positive, work hard and have a great time.
As for the strengths and weaknesses this season, Dobson said one of the strengths is the versaility on the team. He said there are a lot of guys that can play multiple positions which would help us defensively and offensively. As for the weaknesses, he said the team will have to do a lot of things out of their capabilities in an attempt to win games.
Dobson said the starting lineup for the season opener against Fayette is also up in the air. He said the Bulldogs will have about 10 guys that will be fighting for a starting spot.
Players returning this season for New Franklin are 6’-2” senior Mason Bailey and 6’-3” senior Bailey Lyons.
While both earned all-conference in 2016-17, Bailey finished the season averaging 8.8 ppg along with 6.1 rpg and 1.7 apg. He also shot 49 percent from the field and 43 percent from the three-point arc.
As for Lyons, he also had a productive year in 2016-17 while averaging 11.6 ppg along with 6.6 rpg and 1.6 apg.
Dobson said Bailey and Lyons will bring senior leadership to a balance of upper and lower classes.
“They both will be looked upon to help us with all aspects of the game,” Dobson said.
Other players that will have to contribute if the Bulldogs are going to have success this season are senior Tyler Hackman, juniors Kolby Anson and Aden Jones and sophomores Tyler Perkins, Gavin Bishop, Carter Bailey Jackson Dorson and Crayton Gallatin.
Dobson said Hackman is a senior guard that brings intensity to the defensive end and challenges the younger guys to do well offensively in practice.
“They are all very competitive seniors that want to make their season one to remember,” Dobson said of Bailey, Lyons and Hackman. “As for Anson and Jones, Kolby is a 6’-1” post player who will help us out defensively and with rebounding, while Jones will also be competing for a guard spot. He brings good on ball defense and offensive skills to the team.”
Dobson said the sophomore class will also be asked to do a lot during the season. He said Perkins and Bishop will be relied upon to handle the basketball and run the offense while Carter Bailey will be asked to stretch the offensive side and knock down some outside shots. As for Dorson, Dobson said he is a versatile forward who be asked to bring the energy to the offensive and defensive ends with rebounding, hustle players and scoring when given the opportunity. Gallatin, meanwhile, is a hard worker and give the team everything he has all the time and will be competing for a spot as well.