CLOVER — The Clover High School boys basketball team’s loss to No. 1 ranked Irmo in the first round of the state 4A playoffs in no way dampened the spirit of first-year head basketball coach Bailey Jackson.
Jackson spoke in positive tones in describing the direction of the program.
Jackson, a Clover native who had a successful coaching stint at Fort Mill before returning to Blue Eagle Country, said this year’s Clover team far exceeded expectations and gained valuable experience during the course of the season.
“Even though we lost to Irmo in the first round of the state playoffs, we were able to finish fourth in the region and win the Comporium Classic at Andrew Jackson High School in December,” said Jackson. “Only one player, Taylor Hoover, had any significant varsity playing time prior to the season.
The CHS coach noted that Hoover was the only player to start a varsity game when the season began.
“In addition to Taylor, senior Jevon Blake played a huge role in our success,” said Jackson. “He got better throughout the season and ended up being one of our better defenders.”
Jackson lauded seniors Jordan Hill and Kevious Cole for coming to practice each day with great attitudes and working hard to make everyone around them better.
“Obviously, we return a great deal of our scoring with junior Alex Thompson (9ppg), sophomore Bryce Allen (9ppg), and sophomore Arnaldo Toro (10.5 ppg),” said Jackson. “We return great defenders in junior Ladarius Adams and sophomore RJ Moore.”
Said Jackson: “This was year one of building our program into one of the best in the state. We want to strive for excellence each day and get better with everything we do.”
Jackson also said he wants the CHS basketball program to be the best, noting that this year was a great way to start.
“I cannot say enough about these guys and how much they improved throughout the season,” he said. “We had ups and downs but they came back each day with the right attitude and accepted our coaching.
“Many of these players have had very little success on the basketball court and got excited about competing at a higher level than they had before. It was a pleasure to work with them this year and I look forward to the future.”