By Ethan Hoffman -- Eagle Editor
The Franklin County Eagles Varsity Boys Basketball team is officially through the entire 2023-24 regular season, ending with a record of 6 wins and 12 losses. This is not the outcome that the Eagles team and fans wanted to see, but it’s not one that was unexpected.
First-year head coach of the Eagles, Brandon Smith, expected the season to have its ups and downs. Smith stated that this season was truly one to lay the foundation for a winning program. “We really went into this season looking at it as a full rebuild … with the makeup of the team we currently have, we have maybe one or two true star players, but the majority is a team of kids with inexperience in the sport and role players,” Smith commented.
The quick arrival of basketball season did not play into the favor of the Eagles either. Smith, who got the job just last April, only had a few short months to prepare for the season and mesh with his players, something he said was a big challenge.
“I got the job in April. [I think] people don’t understand what goes into being a head coach. Even with having the team in April and having out-of-season workouts, you still don’t have quite enough time to mesh with your players,” Smith said.
Other unforeseen circumstances for the Eagles led to the team being down two players early in the season with an already light bench. Smith stated that the experience really stood out to him as a first-year coach, showing him how fast it can all change.
“Anytime prior to the season, you’re looking at your roster, you’re looking at depth charts, you’re looking at players you’re gonna have. Then all of a sudden, things happen and you have to go back to the drawing board. The world is always evolving. It’s a learning experience every single day," Smith added.
The way the team pulled through the incident was a major confidence boost for Smith, who said that he was incredibly pleased with their work effort when things seemed grim.
“This team has a lot of fight. Even in games that have not been well for us, we have continued to fight throughout the whole game. That was a little bit of a surprise because I felt like these guys would tend to lie down when things didn’t go their way. Surprisingly not," Smith responded
All is not doom and gloom for the future of Franklin County basketball. Coach Smith himself stated that the group of players coming up from JV and even middle school could lead the Eagles to the promised land.
“Franklin County as a whole has a ton of young talent. The JV team is doing great this season. We even had the opportunity to call up two JV players, and they have both played meaningful minutes for us. Those guys will be juniors next year with legitimate experience playing at the varsity level. That isn’t something you get often."
While the 2023-24 season may not have been what was hoped for by Eagles faithful, a solid foundation of coaching, players, and work ethic has been laid to let Franklin County basketball dominate their future competition.