Central Community College-Columbus men's basketball returns to action after a long break on Friday with a road game at North Platte Community College. The Raiders last took to the court nearly a month ago in a Dec. 14 home loss to Des Moines Area Community College.
The defeat dropped CCC to a 4-10 mark, one part of a disappointing first six weeks that was plagued by injures and inconsistent lineups. Major injuries included Nathan Frost, who missed the first eight games, and Latrell Talley, who was also out until Nov. 27.
Head coach Jerry Drymon is hoping his team will be at full strength soon and ready to attack the second half of the season with a lineup that, when healthy, has shown glimpses of potential
"The biggest surprise (of the first part of the season) was the amount of injuries we had," Drymon said. "I have never had a season where three players break bones in three weeks. That really set us back. Hopefully, we can build solid teamwork now that everyone has returned."
Through 14 games, CCC is scoring an average of 74.2 points per game, shooting a fairly good 43.8 percent from the floor but only hitting on 33 percent of 3-pointers and 68 percent of free throws.
That scoring average, however, might be a bit misleading. The Raiders have a total of 107 and another of 91 in two victories but have also failed to score more than 70 five times.
Offense then, has been a major focus of improvement since the team returned to practice.
"We have spent a lot of time on offensive execution, trying to create more movement in our offense," Drymon said. "I hope we see better offensive execution.
"I also want to see us commit to defending at a higher level. With adding players back in and changing some roles, we will have a learning curve that we need to take care of very quickly."
Despite some early losses Drymon said the goals for the team haven't changed since what was set at the beginning of the year.
After Friday's return to action, the Raiders are back home for the Ramada Classic at Raider Fieldhouse.
CCC will play three games in three days, Jan. 17-19.
Though six games under .500, the Raiders still have 15 opportunities on the schedule to get back on the winning track.
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org