L-R: #1 JOSH ASKEW SENIOR- GUARD, #2 JERMIYA WINSTON JUNIOR- WING, #21 BREANA GRIFFIN SENIOR- WING, #10 ASHANTI BOWERS SENIOR- POINT GUARD, #5 BRAXTON WADE SENIOR- FORWARD, #25 JASON WENG JUNIOR- GUARD
Boys: John McFather
Girls: Jared Hughes
Both Rome High School boys and girls teams finished about .500 last year with 15-14 and 15-13 records respectively. Both made it to the State Playoffs and lost in the first round. And both teams are ready to improve and build off the experiences this season.
The girls have several upperclassmen returning, led by seniors Breana Griffin and Ashanti Bowers, as well as junior Jermiya Winston. “Obviously the ultimate goal is to make a run in the state tournament, but to get there we have to compete in what I think many believe to be the toughest region in the state top to bottom,” says Head Coach Jarred Hughes. “There are no off weeks for us, and we practice that way. Non-region play will test us. The Christmas Tournament is always a great challenge that allows us to play against local competition and those opportunities will prepare us for region play.”
The Wolves hope that those early season tests will put them in a position to compete for one of the four spots that would qualify them for the state tournament at the end of the season. “We practice hard and drive home taking accountability,” says Hughes. “If we do that we can learn from our mistakes, address them and improve. We are pretty young outside of our few upperclassmen, but we had a good group come in during the summer and I’m excited to see what they do when they take the floor.”
On the boy’s side, head coach John McFather enters his third season at the helm, and his sights are firmly set on elevating the Rome program as a whole. “We want this program to reach an elite level and we certainly have the talent here at Rome High School to do that,” says McFather. “We have been consistent, but we want to win at the highest level. We have reached the state tournament the last few years and that is something we can build on, but we want to win, and can win championships.”
Senior guards Braxton Wade and Josh Askew will look to lead the Wolves attack and their experience gives this team a chance to make their championship goals a reality. “We have some experience coming back and we will lean on that, but we have developed a lot of depth thanks to some of our veterans playing other fall sports,” says McFather. “Now that we have all come together, you can expect us to rotate 10-11 players out there. That is going to allow us to play that much harder so I think you will enjoy the brand of basketball we play being able to push harder because of that depth.”
Time will tell if these Wolves teams will add to the banners already hanging in the gym, but there’s no doubt the potential is there.