Grundy County High School’s basketball season begins Friday in hall of fame contests in Winchester. Both the Jackets and Lady Jackets are making new starts with new coaches and both programs are expecting improvement this season.
Grundy will continue to compete against the same district foes for this season and next; when TSSAA realigned football they didn’t do the other sports yet.
Coach Jonathan Shedd begins his first season at the helm of the Lady Yellow Jacket program and has plenty of talent to work with.
“I have three seniors back with Mikayla Williams, Madison Burrows and Peyton Eads. Kylan Pickett came back out this year and is also a senior. I have very strong senior leaders and I’m excited with what I have in them. The returning juniors are Kelsey Harriman and Haylee Northcutt. The returning sophomores are Kristen Weaver, Lacy Nunley and Teah Bosio,” said Coach Shedd.
“We have 12 in our freshman class and Caitlin Crabtree is the main one I’m looking for to contribute to varsity right now. I’m trying to ease them into it and get their feet wet. I feel like we’re strong enough with the varsity kids I don’t need to depend on them right now. If someone starts showing out in practice then they can end up dressing with the varsity,” said the coach.
Coach Shedd believes this team can compete on a high level sooner rather than later.
“When you look at what the girls did last year their worst district loss was 12 points. So, I look at it that they were in every district game. So, if we can correct a few things and keep jelling as a team I think we’re going to be ok. We had a lot momentum at the end of the summer and right now we’re struggling to get it back because we were off for so long. At the end of the summer we were clicking. We were very aggressive and we were very good. I think we can get there by the first game,” said Shedd.
It’s always hard to predict who will be the contenders at the beginning of the season but Coach Shedd believes the two teams at the top last year will be the main ones to deal with.
“I think you have to look at who won last year and you have to look at Notre Dame and Signal Mountain. Notre Dame won the regular season and Signal won the tournament. I think they have to be the favorites especially with Notre Dame being able to bring kids in. But I think we’ve got as good a shot as anybody once we get back to playing like the summer,” said the coach.
Coach Shedd wants the community to get behind his team and support the hard work they’ve put in.
“These girls have worked very, very hard. We’ve lifted weights, done jump boxes and they have busted their tails. They’re ready to get the program back to where it should be. They need all the support they can get. They need people coming and watching what they’re doing. They’re excited about it. I’m excited about it and I think it’s going to be fun to watch,” complimented the coach.
Grundy’s first home game will be November 24, against South Pittsburg and fans can get a discount on games this season. Season tickets are $40 or you can get a family pack of four tickets for $135. Tickets can be bought through Coach Shedd, boys’ Coach Jerry Brown or through the front office at GCHS.
Coach Jerry Brown also has experienced talent to work with as he begins his first season at the helm of the Yellow Jackets.
“We have two juniors, Boo Goins and Matt Burrows that dressed last year. Josh Nance, Corbin Lusk, Trey Hampton and Blaine Harris are my sophomores. I’m really going to look to Blaine, Trey, Boo and Josh for leadership because they played the most in games last year. I’m looking for them to lead my very large freshman class and to show them the right way to do things and how I want things done. I expect a lot of leadership from them,” said Coach Brown. Brown looks for his team to win this year as well and reach a higher level.
“My expectations for this year are high. I feel like we can compete for a district championship. I feel like we can get to region this year. I’ve told the guys this is a new era and Grundy County High School boys’ basketball and therefore we need to aim for winning a district championship instead of just competing. I really think we can compete for the championship and hopefully win,” said Brown.
Notre Dame and Signal Mountain are also the teams Coach Brown feels will be the strongest competition for the boys.
“I think the team with the most talent is Notre Dame. I know Bledsoe and Sequatchie Counties graduated some good players so we have to see what they will have. I’ve been told Signal Mountain is a very tough place to play, they’re very physical and play very tough man to man defense. Chattanooga Christian from what I’ve watched on film they’re very methodical in how they run their system. They run a very good system. I feel it’s going to be a tough district but I feel our kids can compete and can win the district if they play I know the way they can play,” added the coach.
Coach Brown plans to have a busy schedule for his freshmen squad this year to get them as much experience as possible.
“We will have a freshman schedule and we will play freshman home games. Those will be mostly on Mondays and Thursday nights. We’d like everyone to come out and support the freshman team. I have 11 freshman so I needed to get them games and let them develop chemistry as a group,” said Brown.
Both basketball teams are doing fundraisers that will culminate at the home opener against South Pittsburg November 24. The Lady Jackets are selling chances on a $2,500 prize. Tickets are $20. The Jacket men are selling chances on a $300 gift certificate to Big Daddy’s Outdoors in South Pittsburg. Those tickets are $5 or $20 for five tickets. Get tickets now before the drawings.
Grundy basketball begins anew this week. New coaches are leading the teams in new directions. Yellow Jacket fans need to get behind the teams and help push them to victories early and often. Support the teams! Go Jackets!