The building process is still underway for James Clemens.
However, the future looks bright for the first-year program as the Jets were 12-9 overall and 3-1, good for first place in Class 6A, Area 16 as of Monday.
Clemens coach Luther Tiggs has seen improvement from his team but recognizes the need for continued growth.
“We’re a better basketball team than we were in November (and) December,” Tiggs said. “Hopefully we can continue to improve.”
In the meantime the Jets are beginning to form an identity.
“I think we’re fairly balanced offensively,” Tiggs said.
Tiggs likes having several players stepping up each game to share the scoring load and that it is easier to scheme defensively against a team that relies heavily on one player to dominate the scoring.
“I’d rather be a balanced team,” he stated.
Tiggs also stressed the importance of being strong defensively if the program is to compete for state championships.
“Defense is what wins championships,” Tiggs said. “We’ve gotten better, but we’re not there yet.”
Clemens will host Decatur on Tuesday and travel to Austin next Friday with a chance to win the regular season area crown and host the area tournament.
“We’re in a great position right now as a first-year program,” Tiggs said. “We can control our own destiny (for the area championship).”
The Jets will visit Bob Jones on Friday before competing in those key games.
While the boys program stands in first place in the area at 3-1, the girls have achieved the same record, good for second behind Austin.
The Clemens girls were 11-8 as of Monday and can still finish in a first-place tie by winning its remaining two area games against Decatur and Austin.
“We’re building some confidence and continuity,” Jets coach Jeff Dunnavant said.
Clemens beat visiting Decatur 42-29 on Jan. 11 but lost 44-32 at Austin on Jan. 8.
Dunnavant believes the Jets’ style of play matches up favorably with both teams.
“Decatur and Austin play similarly to the way we play,” Dunnavant said.
Regardless of how Clemens matches up with its opponents, Dunnavant wants the Jets to be strong finishers whether it is executing on offense or defense or closing out quarters, halves or games.
“We’re preaching finishing,” Dunnavant said. “Offensively and defensively we’re focused on finishing strong. Hopefully that translates into opportunities to win.”