Playing one of the toughest schedules in the state through ten games, the Hornets have posted a 3-1 region record and will enter the New Year in a tie for first place with Walton in 5AAAAAA.
“Things are starting to fall our way a little bit this season and it feels good, because there were some lean times when I first got here,” said Roswell head coach Ty Phillips of his team’s season to date — a year than includes region wins over perennial powerhouse schools Milton, Wheeler and a strong non-region victory over Alpharetta.
Now in his sixth year Roswell, Phillips led the Hornets to their first winning mark (14-12) since 2003 last winter. The veteran coach said the key to the Hornets resurgence has been continuity within the program.
“These upperclassmen were middle schoolers when I got here and they have worked really really hard to get where we are right now. They are a great bunch of kids and they are getting in there and getting after it to see how good we can become this year.”
Roswell’s upperclassmen includes three seniors returning to the starting lineup from last year’s 14-win team — point guard Sean Brennan, shooting guard Matt Beneduci and center Zac Callen.
Brennan, the team’s star guard, has controlled the pace of Phillips up-tempo offense this season, distributing the ball to an array of three-point shooter while averaging over 20 points himself on offense.
Beneduci and Brennan have both shot the ball well from the perimeter with contributions from Devin Smith, Tyrone Sam and sophomore Eric Fox adding to the offense.
Callen and 6-foot-5 junior Robert Wilkinson have helped provide an interior presence on defense.
“The biggest thing for us so far has been the effort, that’s the thing that has been there all season long and as a coach that is what you like to see,” said Phillips.
“In the [region games] we were able to execute on defense and rebound which is huge because we don’t have a lot of size. If we can continue those two things and develop depth with our younger guys we’re going to keep moving in the right direction.”
The Hornets will head to Charleston next week to play in the Piggly Wiggly Roundball Classic. Their next region game will be Jan. 8 against Etowah.
“We’re going to use these next two weeks to get better and better so we are as tough as we can be when we jump back into region play [against Etowah],” said Phillips.