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No more seniors? Not a problem for Bogue Chitto as experienced juniors take charge

There are no seniors on the Bogue Chitto boys basketball team this season.

Where are they?

“They’re gone, finally,” said Bobcats head coach Marc Pitts, laughing. “I finally have a roster that is returning after a year.”

Usually a lack of senior leadership is a terrible thing, but Pitts doesn’t think so. This fall he’ll put a team on the court consisting entirely of juniors and sophomores, and three freshmen.

Youth always equals inexperience. Unless, of course, the juniors have been playing since they were freshmen.

“They learned by being put in the fire and test. They’re a group of brothers who know what they can do, what each one is capable of,” Pitts said. “They push each other, and any of them in the group can be our leader.”

Pitts will rely chiefly on a trio of juniors — forward Darius Porter, center Brandon Lewis and point guard Jermaine Black.

“Jermaine can set the table for us on offense and distribute the ball,” he said. “Brandon has the ability to be a good scorer, 12 or 14 points each night. And Darius, because of his knowledge of the game, does it all for us as far as handling the ball, scoring and leading by example.”

Younger players also expected to have an impact on the court this season include freshman Tristan Buffington, who the coach wants to see snatching rebounds, and freshman Oren Anderson, who should help add to Bobcats point totals on offense.

Pitts plans to use this core of players to play aggressive basketball — he wants to trap, chase and press the ball on defense and take the ball fast and hard to the basket. The Bobcats have a handful of formations and strategies they can roll out to best counter the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents.

“We’re flexible — our team has a high basketball I.Q. that allows us to make in-game adjustments pretty well,” Pitts said. “What we really want to rely on is our defense turning into offense. So we’ll play aggressively, but our players have the right mindset to still make the right decisions and the right plays.”

Pitts expects his Bobcats to drive the ball into the playoffs this year after getting a taste of victory last season. The 2016-17 Bogue Chitto squad had a rough year, going 8-22, but found itself defeating Ethel in the first round of the playoffs before getting slapped down by Piney Woods 86-54.

The pieces are in place to make a run this winter, Pitts said.

“I really would like to get to the big house this year, and I think we have a chance to go far into the playoffs if we do things right,” he said. “Those are our team goals — to do what it takes to be competitive every night.”