MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – “A lot of people call us defending champions, I like to say we’re pursuing another championship,” said Williamson basketball coach Shumbe Hunter.
Last year started with the Williamson Lions winning the 4A state basketball championship. The Lions are hoping 2021 has a similar opening chapter.
“You have the same bodies and same names show up on the roster, but the approach is different. The way we handle ourselves and the way other teams approach us will force us to adjust what we have to do,” said coach Hunter.
The Lions are again one of the top 4A teams in the state, with plenty of talent to bring another title back to the Port City.
As with all sports though, dealing with the day-to-day uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic has at times been a struggle.
“It’s probably been the biggest challenge, probably bigger than any play I could draw up or any defense that could be imposed on us. It’s a challenging situation,” said coach Hunter.
With summer workout programs and offseason practice schedules drastically changed, the Lions took some time to hit their stride.
“Now we’re finally getting back to where I would have wanted us to be at in the preseason,” said coach Hunter.
“We’re good as a team right now, but we have to grow a little more going into the playoffs. We have to work harder,” said Jordan Bell.
But with 11 players returning from last year’s state championship team, Williamson’s experience has helped them weather this storm.
“That’s huge, when you have a group of that magnitude coming back. It makes coaching easier, you just say a few things and they catch on. Sometimes you don’t have to say anything and you have a leader step up and do what a coach would do,” said Coach Hunter.
This Lions team is a close-knit group.
“It’s good, it’s like family,” said Clifton Granderson.
And they’re hoping that tight bond will help them bring another title back to Mobile.