Ragsdale Basketball:Talking with Coach Craig Shoemaker

Posted by Jim on March 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm under High School | Comments are off for this article

Ragsdale Basketball:Talking with Coach Craig Shoemaker
by Jim Modlin

Now that all of the big round basketballs in high school have quit bouncing, I
decided to go over to my Alma Mater and have a relaxed Q & A with one of the most
knowledgeable basketball coaches in our area. Also, after what can only be described
as a tough season, with the team going 4-21, I felt Coach Shoe wouldn’t mind looking
forward as well as reflecting on the past season. Without premature excuses or
apologies, Craig knew he had very young team. “We lost some good players from last
year’s team. From the players returning the points TOTAL average was 5.4 points per
game with 3.9 rebounds” said Craig matter of factly. I added that was pretty much
zero experience. The team had only one senior, Karson Redfern, who played Tommy
Norwood’s football team, until he broke his collar bone. The injury hurt the
football team and put him behind somewhat in basketball. “Karson was our only
senior. We were counting on him for his leadership and size on the inside.” Redfern
is 6’6″ tall and on a team that lacks size, he was needed badly. In addition to
Karson, the team had to make it until 5 or 6 more football players finished up. The
Tigers had enough players to scrimmage before the football boys returned, but not
the complete team that would make up the roster. “Everyone knows that he final cut
in basketball is when the football players return.” In December the team won 3
games, but Craig didn’t like the lack of consistency. “We won our first game against
Southeast and a couple of more games, while losing 7 along the way. Then it was time
for The Pizza Hut Invitational. Ragsdale got the draw of Greensboro Day in the first
round. Having seen the game, Ragsdale played Day school tough the first half. “That
was about as good a half as we played all year, considering the team on the other
side. The Tigers ended up losing 69-44. After that game is was one difficult loss
after another, with the only win coming against Southwest, who RHS beat handily
84-71 in early January, with Bryan Rouse scoring 37 points.”We were so close to
wining several of the games we lost. We just fully didn’t understand everything you
have to do to win games. One game it would be a missed free-throw, a missed dunk, a
turnover……something different most of the time” said Craig. To point out the
lack of consistency, 10 different players started at one time or another for
Ragsdale. After the losses continued Craig said “The team really stuck together and
kept getting better, even though it didn’t translate into wins. This was one of the
most gratifying teams to coach. I know that sounds odd, but these guys really
enjoyed each other on and off the court. By the end of the year, I think we had a
lot of positives learned about how to be a better basketball team, looking forward.”
Let’s not forget that all of the team is back for next year except for Redfern. The
team and Coach Shoemaker will have an extra buzz to look forward to next
year-finally a new gym at Ragsdale. I played a little basketball in the Mike Raybon
Gym-a.k.a. the old gym and I can testify that a new one is well overdue. “The
construction team is allowing myself and Dr. Rogers [principal at RHS] have a lot of
input into the design and things like the team room, the floor and some things that
I’ve discussed with some of the other coaches in the area that have new gyms. We
want to find out if they made some small errors in design that we might have a
chance to get just right.” Having the new gym will be an extra bonus for a team
that struggled last season, but has lots of reasons to look forward. Colin Lipke
will be coming up to help at the point guard position. I mentioned to coach that
some size would not hurt. “Yes, I keep waiting on the next 6’8″ player to walk thru
the door” he said laughingly. A lot of truth is said in jest, as we all know. The
team banquet is this Monday. After giving out some well deserved awards, I have a
feeling that you will hear some comments on “next year” at this year’s festivities
for the Ragsdale Basketball team.

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