“It was a good win for the kids. We started out down 0-17, but we ended up winning the first half. Going down by 17 forced us to make a decision—do we quit or keep playing,” said head coach Jermal McCoy.
McCoy also said the come back was made possible by his many seniors, as they are “willing to do what it takes to get the wins”.
With 13 players total on the varsity roster, East Paulding suits nine senior boys and seven returning varsity play-ers.
The win against Hiram, along with the previous win against Woodland, put the Raiders at an even 4-4 record, get-ting them back on track after a four game losing streak beginning with game three as they fell to Hillgrove, 64-47.
“We started out decent then it got a little rocky. We were trying to find our identity as a team and eventually we found what we’re good at,” said McCoy.
According to McCoy, he discovered his team is good a running a man defense, half court play, and playing their game.
“We have size, speed and quickness,” McCoy said.
One element of the East Paulding game is their starting five. McCoy has no starting five set in stone for his team, rather “it depends on what we need,” he said.
There are however, five players that do get a lot of time on the court and make a difference for the team.
6-foot, senior, shooting guard Brett Benson, 5-foot-10, senior, point guard DeNarius Durant, 6-foot, senior, shooting guard Elijah Edgeworth, 6-foot-1, senior, small forward Keiss Morgan, and 6-foot-10, junior, center Alex Pack, are the most consistent of the starters.
The Raiders played Lithia Springs on Dec. 14, falling to the Lions 62-32, in a game which McCoy knew would be hard for his team.
“It’s going to be a tough game, always is,” McCoy said.
McCoy said Lithia Springs beat his team out of the region tournament last year, keeping them from getting to the state playoffs.
In fact, making it over that hump is one of the goals that Raiders set for themselves this season.
“Our ultimate goal is to get to the state tournament,” said McCoy.