Pope looks to rebuild Raiders basketball team
Published 10:27 am Friday, December 5, 2014
After seven years of coaching the girls basketball team at Southampton Academy, head coach Chris Pope felt that it was time for a new challenge. Coinciding with his daughter’s high school graduation, Pope seized an opportunity to coach the boys when Jim Tribbett stepped down to move to Florida with his college-bound son.
“I ran the girls program for quite some time,” said Pope, “but when my daughter graduated, it seemed like the perfect time to coach the boys.”
The Lady Raiders did not have a losing record during Pope’s tenure, but he said that you can throw all of his past accomplishments out of the window when discussing his newest group.
“We’re putting a completely new offensive and defensive system in place,” he said. “I’ve never ran this scheme, either, so we’re going to have to continue to progress and get better as the year goes along.”
Being his first season at the helm, Pope is very realistic about his team’s prospects and imagines this year will propel them to compete for a conference title in the future.
“There’s been a lot of rugged practices with the new system, and we lost a lot of seniors, so I expect us to be a middle-of-the-pack team in our conference,” he said. “With several teams that have AAU and foreign exchange players, it’s a very, very competitive conference.”
NUMBERS TO KNOW
1 – Pope said that he’s been preaching his team to get 1 percent better in practice each day. “If they improve themselves and their game by 1 percent each day, we’ll be right where we need to be at the end of the season.”
4 – The Raiders lost four starters from last year’s state tournament team, including captains Cam Hines and Johnny Tribbett. “We lost some solid players,” said Pope,” but we have a lot of quick, athletic kids that can replace them.”
CAST OF CHARACTERS
The only returning starter, senior Matt Rose, is the key to the Raiders’ offense this season. “He’s a three-sport athlete who has the opportunity to become a great leader this season,” Pope said. “He’s going to have to step up and be more aggressive offensively.”
With the departure of the seniors, Pope mentioned that there are seven or so players that have a chance to make an impact on the team. Among them, junior point guard Andrew Lowe has seemingly taken hold of a starting spot. “He’s stepped right in and led our team in scoring for the first two games,” said Pope.
Varsity games typically start at 7:30 p.m, unless noted otherwise. Bolded games are at home.
The VCC Tournament will take place Feb. 17-21 and the VAIS Basketball Tournament will occur Feb. 23-28. Tip-off has yet to be determined.
Dec. 1-5 North Carolina Tournament (2-0 thus far)
Dec. 13 Denbigh Baptist (3:30 p.m.)
Dec. 19-20 Nansemond-Suffolk Academy Holiday Classic
Dec. 29-30 Battle of the Border at Brunswick Academy
Jan. 6 Kenston Forest
Jan. 9 Richmond Christian
Jan. 13 Tidewater Academy
Jan. 15 Amelia Academy (7 p.m.)
Jan. 16 Portsmouth Christian (7 p.m.)
Jan. 20 Blessed Sacrament-Huguenot
Jan. 23 Brunswick Academy
Jan. 28 Halifax Academy
Jan. 30 Kenston Forest
Feb. 3 Richmond Christian
Feb. 6 Tidewater Academy
Feb. 10 Amelia Academy
Feb. 13 Blessed Sacrament-Huguenot