Iles sees bright future for Mavericks basketball

By CATHRYN CARTWRIGHT,

The Manchester Academy Mavericks basketball season has come to an end after falling to Clinton Christian in the AA MAIS State Quarter Finals.

Coach Jacob Iles said he was pleased with the progress his players made this year, especially since they began the season with little time to prepare.

"With the success of football, we didn't really have a preseason," he said. "We had maybe three practices before our first game which came right after Thanksgiving."

Iles said the Manchester boys had made it to the state quarter finals in the season before as freshmen, so he was confident that they could do it again as sophomores.

"I was optimistic that we could make another run for State and we did," he said. "Now going forward for the next two years, the anticipation and expectation really gets ramped up because they are going to be juniors and seniors now."

Iles said that one goal for the team for the next two years is to make it to the OverallTournament and to win a state championship.

"We made it to the state tournament two years in row so now we are going to start expecting more.”

Iles said his team continued to improve all season.

"As a team we started off the year rough," he said. "I think our record at Christmas was 6-6, but we played some good teams. Then we finished the year with a 16-10 record, so hopefully we can build on our recent success."

Parks Poe led the team in scoring, averaging over 18 points a game, while his brother Jon Riley Poe was an asset on defense.

"Jon Riley made a big improvement on scoring from the beginning of the season to the end," said Coach Iles. "The first part of the year he was scoring four to seven points a game. As he improved he really helped carry us through the District and North State tournaments. I expect big things out of him in his junior year."

Dylan Dendy was another player to show improvement.

"I really feel like he had more fun this year," Iles said. "He shot the ball better, his free-throw shooting was better."

Iles said that Upton Hitt played an important role on the court as a team leader and kept the boys motivated and making smart decisions.

"And Ty Kilpatrick was our newcomer this year," Iles said. "He gave us some good minutes from his guard spot. He was a good three point threat and he was very good on our defensive scheme."

The only player that the Mavericks will be losing next year will be senior Hayes Bardwell.

"Hayes was another one that showed improvement this year," Iles said. "There were games there at the end where he was playing inspired basketball that I have never seen from him before."

Iles is already looking forward to the next season.

"We anticipate great things to happen for next year,” he said.