Halfway through its season, the Blue Ridge High boys basketball team needed to make some changes.
“(Versus Greer), we changed uniforms,” said Blue Ridge coach Ray Riley. “We used the JV uniform. We put new nets on the backboards. We said it’s a new season, and we’re going to count this season from Friday night (the Greer win) to where we finish.”
So far, you can mark the Tigers’ plan as change for the good.
Blue Ridge beat Greer 66-57 for the team’s first Peach Blossom AAA Region win and second victory overall.
The Tigers followed that by thumping Pickens 60-34 on Jan. 21. Then, on Jan. 24, Clay Arnold’s buzzer-beater from beyond the 3-point arc took down No. 2-ranked Eastside 47-46.
“We’ve got to forget what was in the past,” Riley said. “We’ve got to keep building up. The kids have really responded. We’ve just got to get a little bit better at some things.”
He said he’s proud of the players for staying with it.
“We could have quit a long time ago,” Riley said.
One of the areas of improvement is shooting.
“At Southside, our worst defeat, we were 3-for-23 from the 3s and 5-for-25 from the twos and got beat 53-33,” Riley said.
While Arnold hit a long one to beat Eastside, the Tigers showed their ability to attack the basket against Pickens. Reggie Stoddard scored 31 points, many of them off of driving layups.
“We’re trying to get the ball to the rim a little bit more,” Riley said. “Lay it up instead of shooting the 3s. I’ve think we’ve done a good job of that.”
Tests for the Tigers’ new attitude abound, of course, with games ahead against the state’s top-ranked team — Travelers Rest — as well as Greenville, Southside and a rematch at Greer.