Brian Lloyd says his first priority is defense.
That’s exactly what Reynolds boys basketball coach Clint Loftin likes to hear. But it’s even better when Loftin watches the senior go out and execute what he believes in.
“He’s one of the best defenders I’ve ever coached,” Loftin said. “The number one thing that Brian brings to the court every night is effort. He plays tremendously hard, and, when one of your best players puts such a value on defense, it’s contagious.”
It must be catching on.
Lloyd and the Rockets (7-4, 2-1 Mountain Athletic Conference) are on track for their first winning season in three years.
The versatile 5-foot-11 standout bounces around at both guard positions and small forward. And he does it well. Lloyd leads Reynolds in points scored (158), rebounds (73), steals (52) and assists (41).
Lloyd puts up 14.3 points a game, but he was better than that Friday with 21 points in an 84-76 overtime win at Enka.
Ka-von Watkins (18 points), Rico Dowdle (15) and Evan Gillis (11) also reached double figures for Reynolds, which already has half as many MAC wins as it did all of last season (four).
Friday’s game was tied at 73 at the end of regulation.
“I had never been in an overtime game before, so it was exciting,” Lloyd said. “We came through when we needed to. That’s the thing about this year’s team. We’re focused on the team more than ourselves, and we really feed off each other. A lot more than we have in the past here.”
Loftin was also encouraged by what he saw Friday.
“One of the things we have worked on with this group is how to handle adversity,” Loftin said. “I’m proud of the way we stayed composed. All 14 of our players, no matter whether they played a little or played a lot, were all about the team’s success.”
For the season, Dowdle (12.8 points per game) and Cal Maxwell (12.3 ppg.) are also averaging double figures for the Rockets. Reynolds has won six out of its last eight games, with the only losses coming to undefeated Erwin (13-0) and Smoky Mountain (14-0).