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Righting wrongs is loudest Rebel yell

Righting wrongs is loudest Rebel yell
Obion Central head coach Bill Kail believes his team has some unfinished business.
The Rebels, who posted their first winning season since 2001-02 last season with a 15-11 record, still feel the sting from last season’s first-round exit — a  72-62 loss to Milan — in the District 13AA playoffs.
“That bothers me that we had a pretty successful regular season and lost in the first round of the playoffs,” Kail said when breaking down his goals for the upcoming season. “That still keeps me up at night from time to time and I know that it bothered those players, too.”
Still, there were other bothersome circumstances that ultimately affected the team in the offseason.
In early-September, Kail was whistled for a foul by the TSSAA after a scrimmage between members of his team and Lake County in May at the old Dixie gymnasium that the OC mentor and Falcon skipper Jimmy Whitby attended.
Their attendance and the fact that the game was never proven to be an AAU league affair created a violation of the state governing body’s prep sports calendar.
The final result of the ordeal was a one-game suspension for Kail — he’ll sit out the team’s opening game against Munford Friday — and a decrease of his coaching supplement pay for what the TSSAA deemed as a wrongdoing.
Assistant coach Donnie Walton will lead the team in the outing against Munford.
With that flap now in the rearview mirror, Central is intent on paving a road of success and righting the postseason wrongs from last season.
“I’m expecting our seniors to step it up,” said Kail, now in his third season at the helm of the OC program. “They know what’s expected of them after two years of answering to me and they know their jobs within this team.
“I expect each of them to do their job to the best of their ability.”
On the court, Kail lauds the team as a tight-knit group that plays well together.
“There are no individual concerns within this team,” Kail said. “I think one of our strengths this season will be team chemistry and the fact that it appears to me that this group enjoys playing together.”
Central supporters are hopeful they can “enjoy” watching the program post back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since the aforementioned ’01-02 season and ’00-01.
With that just one of the goals in mind, Obion Central is set to send four seniors on the court at the start of each game with the centerpiece of the Rebels’ offensive puzzle guard/forward Nick Gilliam (Sr., 6-2).
Gilliam, who surpassed the 1,000-point plateau late last season, was the top Central performer on average last season with 16 points per outing and he also was named to the All-District team.
Gilliam is where many good things will start for OC, but he has a supporting cast that also has a few battles under their respective belts.
In the lane, center Brady Boucher (Sr., 6-4) is back for his final season after leading the team in rebounds per game (six) and blocks per outing (two) last season.
Furthermore, point guard Brandon Smith (Sr., 5-11) is responsible for dribbling from the backcourt and he was also the team’s top assist and steal man last season averaging a trio of dishes per game and two snatches each outing.
More experience is at the forward position with Jacob Mobbs (Sr., 6-4) set to help Boucher crash the boards. Mobbs is labeled as a player that “shoots fairly well” by Kail.
Rounding out the starting five for this Obion Central team is guard Tyler Barber (Jr., 5-11). Barber is lauded as a good shooter and defender by Kail and he could serve as a complement to Gilliam.
Coming off the bench is Brandon King (Sr., 6-5), who did not play last year. King will look to shake off any rust he has on the hardwood as he provides relief to Boucher as a forward.
Also one of the team’s first lines of substitution will be Travis Daniel.
Daniel (Jr., 6-0) is penciled in to rotate in as a forward, while Jacquis Williams (So., 6-4) gives the Rebels a third option at center or the depth to cycle in more size at the post position.
Kail is hopeful that his big men can minimize the impact the opposition can have with second-chance baskets.
“That’s one of my concerns right now is our rebounding,” the OC mentor said. “We have to make sure we get the first rebound and not give away second-chance baskets, because that’s like a turnover in the big picture.”
The Rebels open the 2008-09 campaign Friday evening against Munford. OC will play again on Saturday when they host Bradford.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at kcoker@ucmessenger.com.

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