After going 8-14 last season, Shelby-Rising City boys basketball is planning on making more noise in the 2018-19 season.
The Huskies return three of their five starters, and hope to find themselves playing in Lincoln come the end of the year in a win-or-go-home game.
"This season we have a lot of high expectations," said head coach Grant Gabel after practice last week. "We return a lot of people back from last year. We have a good solid core group, and return three of our five starters. This season we're looking forward to it. We should hopefully have a really good successful season this year."
Shelby-Rising City's goal is to find more offense, especially inside, to add on to what they bring back defensively.
"The biggest thing is find more scorers," Gabel said. "We return a lot of the good core scoring back. That's the biggest thing we're going to be looking for this year is getting more points out of our post.
"We know our guards are more than capable of scoring on any given play. The biggest thing is just to find those X-factors that can find those extra buckets when crucial games come around."
This season there is a new qualifying process for the state tournament.
Teams are divided into 12 sub-districts. The 12 winners automatically advance plus the next four highest in the wildcard standings. Teams are then seeded based on the standings at that point.
Winners of the eight matchups move on to Lincoln.
"I told the kids at the beginning of the season, we're now going to sub-state," Gabel said. "It's a little bit different than in the past where if you lose in your sub-district in the past you would be done.
"This year you'll have an opportunity at sub-state, so I told the kids we're going to go game in, game out and try to win as many games as we possibly can. When it comes to sub-district our goal should be wining sub-districts and have a chance to get down to Lincoln playing in a sub-state game. That's our number one goal is just to have an opportunity to play in a game where it's a win or go home situation with a chance to go to Lincoln."
For that to become a reality, players must adhere to a very specific role on the team
"Everyone is picking up their roles," Gable said. "The juniors and seniors, I kind of expect them to lead. We have a solid core group with all eight guys.
"It's just a unique situation where each one of those guys have their own unique situation and can provide us with a spark at any given moment. It's just a good group of kids that work good together, and any given night someone might step in and have a big game."
The first game for the Shelby-Rising City is Friday when the Huskies host Cross County.
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Banner-Press reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net