Louisa boy’s basketball coach Brian Wilson is confident that he knows what it takes to win.
“Winning is 90 percent here and here,” he says, as he lifts his finger to point to his head and then his heart.
So far, though, his teams at Louisa have struggled to find the winning formula. Entering into his third season with the team, Wilson has watched the Lions struggle to a combined record of 9-36 in the past two years.
But to come up with a solution, you must first find determine the problem. Wilson thinks he has, and his assessment has merit. Wilson was named the Jefferson District Coach of the Year last season despite a 4-19 record, perhaps a sign that even his fellow competitors see the light ahead for Louisa.
“I feel like for some reason in the past, we believed we didn’t deserve to win because we hadn’t been winning,” Wilson said. “I believe, and I may be dead wrong, but if the Lakers came in to play us we deserve to win that game.
“Others may say I’m crazy, but hey, they put their shoes on the same way as us, we deserve to win. We need to have an attitude that we’re winners, that we can win, and we’re going to win, and we’re going to outplay teams. We’re going to play hard and battle every game.”
And now, Wilson’s army once again has its own fort.
Damage to the school’s gymnasium during the 2011 earthquake forced the team to bounce from gymnasium to gymnasium just to practice. With the construction on the gym that sits behind Louisa County Middle School being completed over the summer, the Lions now have a home court to call their own.
More than 200 spectators will be able to pack the building on game night to give the Lions a type of environment they haven’t experienced in three years.
“The kids are excited to play in front of their peers, and students are excited to get the chance to see basketball without that long drive.” Wilson said.
As for the action on the court, though, plenty of work remains. The team’s leading scorer from last year, Adam Williams (9.8 points per game), has graduated, along with sharpshooter Jamal Robinson (7.7 points per game) and utility man Dakoda Lane, a player who Wilson said “would do a handstand if I asked him too.”
This year, Wilson admits he will be playing with a less experienced squad. Louisa’s six-foot guard, Chris Robinson, will be the only three-year varsity player on the team. In terms of overall contribution, Wilson said it’s Robinson’s time to take over the role as the team’s breadwinner.
“I tell Chris all the time, and he’s been with me since his tenth grade year, that I expect him to lead this team,” Wilson said. “Chris knows we need veteran leadership and I expect a lot out of him.”
Wilson’s squad will also be a little shorter this year as well. Still, Wilson believes he has a way to turn a negative into a positive. Stressing intensity and pressure on defense, Wilson is hoping that crafty, quick traps turn into easy fast breaks for his offense.
“I believe this year’s team will be able to be a little more aggressive and a little more active on defense, and step up the pace a little bit, which should lead to better opportunities on offense,” Wilson said. “We won’t have to rely on our half court sets as much because we’ll be able to get out and finish strong. I’m a firm believer that if you play hard defense you get rewarded on the offensive end with easy opportunities in transition.”
To read the entire story, see the Nov. 14 edition of The Central Virginian.