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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Ramblers leaning on guard play

  • When healthy Rose Bud 6-8 power forward Brandon Hampton and 6-4 forward Tyler Mercer gave the Ramblers as much height as any team in the 2-3A Conference last season. Unfortunately, the two were hampered by injury most of the year, while versatile guards Blake Ferrell and Andrew Adcock picked up the slack.
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  • When healthy Rose Bud 6-8 power forward Brandon Hampton and 6-4 forward Tyler Mercer gave the Ramblers as much height as any team in the 2-3A Conference last season. Unfortunately, the two were hampered by injury most of the year, while versatile guards Blake Ferrell and Andrew Adcock picked up the slack.
    Last year’s injuries could prove to be healthy for this year’s Rambler team as Ferrell and Adcock have blossomed into a pair of steady scorers.
    Along with point guard Brandon LaPorte and lightning quick guard Caleb Ferren, this year’s Rose Bud basketball team will rely on quickness, ball handling and shooting to make up for their lack of a scoring presence in the post.
    Trent Reed, Brandon Lemieux and T.J. Davis are three sophomore guards that also provide stability in the backcourt, according to Rambler Coach Zach Prothro, who led the school to a state championship in 2008.
    “Those tenth-graders have really impressed me and Devin Reed, who will be a junior, is probably one of my most athletic guys. He is fighting hard. Right now he is one of the six or seven coming off the bench but he is fighting for a starting spot.”
    With a plethora of guards, the Ramblers will be tough to trap.
    “Last year we were a little suspect when it came to ball handling and getting the ball up the court,” said Prothro. “But this year I am really happy about my guards. I would rather have a good guard than a good post player because you’ve got to get the ball up the court. We can shoot the ball really well and defensively we are going to do some things different.”
    Although Adcock has the height of a guard or small forward at 6-2, he learned to post up last year with Hampton and Mercer watching from the sideline. Francisco Charqueno, who is currently holding down a starting spot at power forward, gives the Ramblers a defensive presence in the paint.
    “Hampton and Mercer were definitely big losses,” said Prothro. “I don’t have anybody near that size,” said Prothro, adding that Adcock has the best variety of post moves.
    “He [Adcock] is a combo that plays both inside and out.”
    The Ramblers will need to crash the boards and rebound by committee in order to come up with defensive stops on a regular basis in a conference that includes longtime power Harding Academy along with talented newcomers Marianna-Lee and Cedar Ridge.
    “We are not near as big as we were last year but [size] is something you can’t teach,” Prothro continued. “Hopefully the guys will step up and the smaller post players I do have will rebound and fight under the basket. They will get there.”
    Page 2 of 2 - In an attempt to keep the pace fast when feasible and pressure opponents, Prothro said a 10-man rotation is likely. That rotation will work itself out this summer as the Ramblers participate in numerous team camps, including one they are hosting this week that includes 36 junior and senior high squads.
    “I am going to try and play 10 guys every night. What is cool about that is the kids will have to earn their minutes to get into that rotation. I have an idea of who I would like to start but right now that is what the summer is about, seeing who is willing to start.”
    The Ramblers would ultimately like to earn a first or second spot in conference in order to guarantee a spot in the regional tournament, where one more win would give the Ramblers a berth in the state tournament. “We would like to be that team that gets the automatic bye to regionals,” said Prothro.

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