The Oak Mountain Academy boys' basketball team is still young, but the youth movement is beginning to show signs of bigger and better things ahead.
The Warriors don't have a single senior on their roster this winter, but there is a solid nucleus of freshmen through juniors providing experience and leadership during the coaching transition in 2017-18.
With OMA Athletic Director Terrell Barkley pulling double-duty as both the boys' and girls' head basketball coach this season, he said it's been a positive situation all the way around in getting everyone on board.
"They've been great. They work hard every day. I was a new coach this year and they've taken me in and whatever I've said, they haven't questioned," Barkley said. "They don't say, 'Well, last year we did this or we usually do it this way.' So they've been great for us."
It all starts with returning cogs such as point guard Cofer Horton, forward Riley Powers and other top performers in Davis Morris and T.J. Middlebrooks, while freshman forward Zack Vavrik has provided a major boost on both sides of the court in his first varsity season.
"He's a good one. He's came a long way. He's improved his game, he plays AAU ball in the offseason. He's trying to do his part to help us," Barkley said. "We've got to get him the ball more. Because when we get him the ball, there's a lot of success. We'll continue to work on that at practice."
The Warriors suffered some narrow setbacks during the first half of the season, but they're closing the gap and Barkley is confident they'll be able to avenge some of the early region losses coming out of the holiday break.
"I think it's coming. We've played four or five tight games and they're starting to understand what we've got to do. We just keep falling on the short end, but we're going to keep working," Barkley said.
Although OMA may be a year or two away from competing for a region title, it is climbing the ladder and making a push toward being one of those teams to look out for once again in the GISA Class AA picture.
"The goal is to make the state tournament. We've had some bad seasons and I feel that if we can make the state tournament, that will kind of wash that away and then we can start looking forward to getting back to those final fours and those championship games that we were in. But this year our goal is to make the state tournament," Barkley said.
Along with a push toward the postseason, the No. 1 thing moving forward for the present time is consistency, something Barkley believes will continue to improve for this group.
"They're giving me hard effort, but one day we're showing up real well and some days we're not," Barkley said. "But, again, that comes with youth. Some days you're focused and some days you're not. We're just trying to get more consistent and if we get more consistent, we'll be a better team. We're having a lot of individual success, but if we can put it all together and be consistent, I think that will help us."