Garrett shoots over Massey

Jefferson-Morgan’s D.L. Garrett (44) puts up a shot against Frazier during a game last season. The Rockets will move from Class AA down to Class A for the 2018-19 season.

Jefferson-Morgan boys’ basketball will look to use its speed and skill to make a mark in Section 2-AA this year under veteran coach Dennis Garrett.

“Every year is different and you come into the season with goals,” Garrett said. “I feel like this group is battle tested and we want to be competitive every time we take the court. We will definitely use our speed and quickness on the hardwood. For us, we just have to be consistent game in and game out.”

The Rockets went 5-16 overall last season and were 2-10 mark in section play.

Two consistent forces for J-M this year will be seniors DL Garrett and Jalen Torres.

“Both DL and Jalen have grown up so much for us on and off the court,” Coach Garrett explained. “It’s no secret they have a lot of skill and can score. But this season they have developed into leaders and they want to win this year. Those two will have to be consistent for us all year long.”

Other returnees for the Rockets this year are senior Josh Clites and juniors Gavin Wood and Devin Stoneking.

Joining J-M, which has 15 kids on its roster, in Section 2-AA will be Chartiers-Houston, California, Fort Cherry, Bentworth, Frazier and Carmichaels.

“Top to bottom, this section is going to be tough for everyone,” Garrett stated. “Every night is a tough night and you can’t afford to go into a gym with a relaxed attitude. Everyone has players on their teams and anyone is capable of finishing in the top four of the section. It should definitely be fun.”

The Rockets will once again rely on an up-tempo offense that predicates itself on forcing turnovers on the defensive end and using their speed to get to the hoop.

“We have a couple of shooters on the team, but for us to be successful on offense we have to get to the paint and our slashers have to score,” Garrett said. “Our defense has to help out our offense. We have to play with the same level of intensity and energy every night on both ends of the court.”

J-M opens at the Geibel Catholic Tip-off Tournament on Dec. 8-9.

The Rockets begin section play at California on Dec. 15, and will once again participate in the Bentworth Christmas Tournament on Dec. 27-28.

“Consistency is going to be key for us,” Garrett commented. “We have to be ready from the get go and we can’t have any lulls in the season. Good teams avoid those lulls and they play with the same energy every night. We are preaching the basics like boxing out, taking care of the basketball and being simple on offense. If we do those things, we can be a pretty good basketball team this year.”

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