Ready for a new challenge, Dimitric Salters had no trouble moving on from his 10 years at East Gadsden High.
Now at Lincoln after nine years as head coach of the Jaguars boys’ basketball team, Salters is throwing caution to the wind in a new job and playing his aggressive style.
That includes a full-court pressing defense intertwined with substitutions of five fresh new players every two to three minutes; more reminiscent of hockey line shifts than basketball.
“I used to have that quality depth around 2006, and we were even missing two starters tonight,” said Salters after Lincoln dismantled Jefferson County 47-9 Thursday night.
“Our style is to wear you down. We have the quality bodies and quality depth on the bench to do that.”
Lincoln (7-2) led 40-4 at halftime against the Tigers (1-7), forcing 23 turnovers in the first half and recording 18 steals. Senior guard JahVaughn Powell led the Trojans with 11 points, and the five starters sat for the entirety of the second half in anticipation of tonight’s game against Leon (8-0).
“We believe in everyone on this team, so when you do it 5-5-5, we believe everyone can play their part and bring to the table what they can,” Powell said about adjusting to the new tempo, style and wholesale subbing.
“At the end of the night, we get the job done. Knowing you’re gonna get your rest, you just go all out. You don’t have to worry about coming out or being tired. Everyone believes in each other. It makes you want to run around a lot more.”
Powell made all five of his free throw attempts, a significant source of pleasure after he struggled to close out games last year in situations where a made free throw could have meant a win.
“It stuck with me a lot,” Powell said. “Thinking about all the losses last year carried me into this year with a lot of motivation. I’m not usually one of spite, but when a season like last year happens, especially senior year, you want to leave it the right way.”
Salters played 15 different faces in the win and nine Trojans scored despite a running clock in the second half and small minutes. Tony Logan scored his seven points off the bench in the first quarter as part of shift No. 3.
“It’s all about the team and all about what we’re trying to do here at Lincoln, which is build an outstanding basketball program,” said Salters, whose record at East Gadsden was 219-61 and included four trips to the state Final Four over the nine years he never missed the playoffs.
“If you want to be a part of something great team-wise, you’ll buy into it. You’ll play a role. I think we had to get kids to buy into a role and that’s what they’ve done.”