However, with the turn of the calendar into 2014 and renewed optimism, the Patriots have turned a corner and won four of their last five region contests, including an impressive 76-47 road victory over North Paulding on Jan. 10.
“We played a really tough out-of-region schedule purposefully,” Paulding County head coach Anthony Cayetano said. “We did that to make sure our mindset was where it needed to be for region play.”
The Patriots have been bolstered by a strong senior class, including post player Rasean Davis, who averages a team-high 16.5 points and nine rebounds per contest, and Michael Hemphill, whose averaged 14.4 points and three assists per contest. Dana Middleton and Javonte Williams also have been solid contributors to the Paulding County squad.
“Our seniors have stepped up and played well for us,” Cayetano said.
The Patriots’ leadership goes beyond the seniors as junior Marc Toussaint has proved invaluable to the squad.
“Many times we look at stats to show who leads the team but one of our undeniable leaders is Marc,” Cayetano said. “He gets the team going, is well spoken and always leads with a good, positive attitude while getting respect from everybody in the locker room.”
On his place within the team, Toussaint said, “My role is to get everybody focused and in order. I make sure that everybody practices well.”
The Patriots have had struggles on defense, allowing opponents to score 62 points per game this season, second-most in the region.
“We’ve struggled defensively so we need to get better on that end and get back to basics,” Cayetano stated.
“We’ve played well together at times and been hard to beat,” Davis stated. “If we can focus on this part of the season together, we should be good.”
The Patriots return to action tonight at Rome.