PICKENS—Pickens High boys’ basketball coach Michael Noble said he knows his team can compete with the best in the state, but he believes it will take some growing to build confidence.
The Blue Flame opened the season Friday with a 78-60 loss to rival Easley, but that is not the team Noble says he knows.
“I know that we can play,” Noble said. “We’re a pretty good team if we can get those guys to believe in themselves. I think they started to Friday night. We were down 27 points and we actually cut it to about 10 or 11 late in the game. They are starting to believe that they are a pretty good team.”
Noble said his team will not struggle to put points on the board this year.
“We’re pretty confident that we can put up some points and score a little bit,” Noble said. “We’re still trying to find an identity defensively, but we’re confident we can play with anybody if we can settle down defensively.”
“I think we have three or four guys that can really shoot from the outside,” he said. “That’s our strength this year.”
The Blue Flame will also likely receive a boost from junior standout Jordan Stewart, who had 21 points in the season opener.
“Jordan Stewart has been big for us. He’s a junior this year and he’s been a really bright spot for us coming off the bench,” Noble said. “He’s our leading scorer even though he’s not a starter. Down low, you’ve got Antron Wakefield, who has been a pretty successful player for us as far as rebounding offensively and defensively.”
As for goals, Noble said he just wants his squad to compete in every game.
“We just want to compete,” Noble said. “We’re going into a pretty tough region in Greenville. We’re just looking to compete in every game and we’ll worry about the outcome at the end of the game. This is our first year in this region, so we’re just trying to find our spot and get used to these teams.”
Looking ahead on the schedule, a few games stick out to Noble, but he said he knows his team is in for a competitive year.
“A lot of guys are looking forward to playing Southside. Coach Beasley was an assistant coach with us last year and now he’s the head coach at Southside so they are looking forward to playing that game,” Noble said. “We’re in a really good region with some teams we are looking forward to playing.”
The Flame will get a rematch with Easley Thursday night in Pickens.
Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.