McALESTER — HAILEYVILLE — Even before Haileyville opens its basketball season at home Thursday against Indianola, signs look promising for this year’s Warriors and Lady Warriors. Numbers attending preseason workouts have gone up for both teams, according to second-year coach Jody Hull, as the Warriors have had as many as 17, the Lady Warriors as many as 12.
Hull said a core group of Haileyville basketball players have been in the gym since school began, and it’s paid off in preseason scrimmages.
“It seems like the second year every school I’ve been at, we’ve gotten a lot better,” Hull said Friday.
The 2012-13 Warriors won 10 games and lost the consolation final of the 2013 Pitt 8 tournament. With three starters from last year back, Hull said he’s looking for 15-20 wins and a top-four finish at the tournament.
The Warriors are particularly experienced at forward. Jason Mayo, a starter last year, will be the team’s starting power forward, but Hull said Mayo can play any position on the court.
“He’s just fundamentally sound,” Hull said of Mayo. “Blocks out, can score, can dribble. ... Good kid.”
Bryer Stites will be the Warriors’ starting center, as he was last year. A 6-foot-9 junior, Stites has slimmed down from 330 to 310 pounds, according to Hull, which should make moving up and down the court easier.
“Last year, people would put two or three guys on him because we had nobody who could shoot,” Hull said of Stites. “This year, our 1, 2 and 3 (guards) can shoot the 3s, and if they play off him, if they play off Bryer, my 4 (Mayo) can score at the high post all day long.”
Freshman Seth Davidson started on Haileyville’s eighth grade team last season. Hull said Davidson is a strong shooter able to drive inside, making him an ideal small forward.