GAYLESVILLE – The Gaylesville Trojan boys and girls basketball programs have turned to 20-year coaching veteran Corey Head to lead them to the next level.
Head took over both programs from former head coach Jay Prater last summer. He comes to the Trojans following coaching stints at Sardis, Madison County, Douglas and Albertville.
“I’m excited,” Head said. “I had coached for a long time in Alabama at several different schools. When I retired and started teaching in Georgia, Coach (Brian) Knapp asked me to help him with football, and that kind of led to this.
“Basketball has always been important to me. I like it. It’s fun. You get to build a lot of relationships with kids because it’s less numbers. It’s a challenge, but it’s been exciting. We’re just trying to get a little better day by day. Every day has its own challenge. We’re just really trying to work on attitudes, trying to figure out how to do things the right way, and teach things the right way.”
So far, Head has been pleasantly surprised with the Trojans’ work ethic.
“It’s been fun,” Head said. “They’ve been receptive to what we’re trying to do. It’s a challenge every day, especially after not having the summer because of the COVID stuff.”
Building depth within all the Trojan basketball programs is something Head has made a focal point. He said the boys’ program currently has around 25-28 kids, while the girls have 20 players from grades 7-12.
One advantage Head has with the boys’ squad is he coached many of them in football, including DJ Lee, Seth Lee, Briley Mitchell, Jacob Gordon, Gage White, Tyler Bentheimer and Keylon Higgins.
“Those guys are competitors,” Head said. “They’ve worked really, really hard, and hopefully we can carry that over and build on a little bit of what we did with football and get a few more wins this time.
“DJ Lee, just like in football, he’s one of those guys you depend on every day. He’s a great example of a high school athlete. He’s a great player.
“Gage White is another senior for us who we’re expecting great things. He’s athletic and does a lot of good things.
“Tyler Bentheimer, we’re hoping to get back after Christmas from his knee surgery. He had a really good summer. We hated to see him get hurt. It’s hard to replace his senior leadership.
“Jacob Gordon had a good fall. Briley Mitchell and Keylon Higgins we’re excited about. We’ve got some bigger bodies, got some long bodies, and we’re pretty athletic. I’m trying to figure out what they do best, then we’re going to go from there. It may take me a couple of weeks to figure that out.”
On the girls’ side, Head will rely heavily on the leadership of senior Malaya Shireman.
“She’s being a great role model for our young kids,” Head said. “We’ve got a huge ninth grade class. We’ve got eight ninth graders, and that’s a class we’re really trying to take and build for down the road.
“The girls are extremely coachable. Peyton Bright and Paislee Bryson had a couple of good weeks in the summer, along with Star Mayes and Delaney Coker. It’s just a good group of girls. We’ve got a chance over the next few years to get better. It’s baby steps. It’s a process, but they’re working hard. As long as we do that, wins and losses don’t matter to me. I’m hoping everybody will be patient and remember we’re really young. The scoreboard doesn’t reflect what we’re doing a lot of times. We’re getting better.”
Gaylesville competes in Class 1A, Area 13 along with Cedar Bluff, Skyline, Woodville and Valley Head. They’re scheduled to open the 2020-21 season on Nov. 10 at home against Coosa Christian.
“We’re just trying to get to where we can compete. The bottom line with us is we want to compete,” Head said. “I think if we compete every night, at the end of the year we might have a chance to surprise somebody. That’s what our goal is, to take that next step, build a little bit and just keep going.”
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