Buncombe County has not won a NCHSAA championship in boys basketball since 1988.
And even that particular program has been in flux recently – Clint Loftin is the third different coach in three years at Reynolds.
Players said Wednesday that Loftin has already brought discipline and a sense of toughness that was lacking.
Most importantly, the Rockets (3-1) are getting results. They have already won half as many games as last year’s 6-17 season.
“We like (Loftin). He’s been stricter, but in a good way,” senior center Ryan McLaughlin said.
“Last year, it was all about me, me, me,” junior guard Kayvon Watkins added.
“This year we have a lot more leadership and togetherness. Everybody plays as a team. It’s a good feeling.”
Reynolds opened its season with a 25-point loss at Mountain Heritage and then turned around and beat the same team, 69-46, just three day later.
The Rockets collected their third win Tuesday night, easing past visiting Owen, 83-65. McLaughlin poured in a team-high 20 points, followed by Brett Douglas (19 points), Watkins (13) and Brian Lloyd (11).
“(The winning streak) has been a big boost to our confidence,” McLaughlin said.
“I think we’ve got the potential to be a good basketball team.”
Reynolds essentially starts four guards (Douglas, Lloyd, Kamari Simpson and Watkins) around McLaughlin, who was an All-Mountain Athletic Conference selection a year ago.
“We’re playing really well right now,” said Lloyd, who is a junior.
“We’re not going to let it go to our head though. We know we need to shoot better. We need to get our defense right. I don’t want to jinx anything. But I think we could (potentially) be one of the best teams to come through Reynolds in a while.”
Loftin accepted the Rockets job in July after going 10-35 in two seasons at East Henderson. He is the only first-year boys coach in the MAC a season after Asheville (Sonita Warren-Dixon), Erwin (David Rhoney), McDowell (Brian Franklin) and North Buncombe (Joey Bryson) all welcomed in new faces.
Reynolds travels to North Henderson tonight and returns home on Friday for a game against Walnut Grove (Ga.) out of the Atlanta area.