Most coaching candidates might have turned down the job after learning their prospective team had back-to-back 1-18 seasons. But Steve Guerry saw opportunity when he interviewed for the Stall boys basketball position.
“They had a brand new, beautiful facility and a growing enrollment,” Guerry said. “It was a chance to lay the foundation and build on it.”
Guerry took over at Stall last year and turned a Class AA team that went 1-18 into a team with a chance to succeed. The Warriors went 7-16 at the Class AAA level last winter and are 11-8 this season, with a 4-3 record in Region 8-AAA play.
“The toughest thing is changing the attitude, and helping them learn how to win,” Guerry said. “You have to be able to win the close games. That’s the difference in making the playoffs and staying home.”
This is Guerry’s first head coaching job. He served as an assistant at Berkeley and Kingstree. He was in the last graduation class at the old Macedonia High School, where he played basketball with future pro football players Courtney Brown, Joe Hamilton and Pierson Prioleau.
“I was a bit of an overachiever when I played high school basketball,” Guerry said. “I was a small kid who hustled a lot. I wanted to play basketball in college, but I wanted to go to Clemson worse.”
Guerry said he has a couple of players who have the potential to play at the next level. But his emphasis is team play, not individual accomplishment.
“We’re stressing that we are a family,” Guerry said. “We win together and lose together. We put all the recruiting stuff aside and focus on trust and togetherness.”
One of the players with college potential is 6-7 senior Seth McKelvey. He’s averaging 12.1 points while leading the Lowcountry in rebounding with 12 per game.
“He does a good job of protecting the rim,” Guerry said. “The best thing about it is he doesn’t get in foul trouble. He doesn’t have to waste time sitting on the bench.”
Kaylon Washington is a 6-4 senior who averages just under 10 points per game. He is very athletic and averages 8.8 rebounds a game.
“He’s a big-time leaper,” Guerry said. “He gets the crowds going with his dunks.”
Jordan Carswell is a 6-4 point guard with good offensive skills. He recently scored 24 points and is averaging 11 points a game.
Shaquille Moultrie is a senior who provides leadership as a team captain.
Sophomore Antwone Washington is a solid contributor and Nelson Cedano is the sixth man.
The Warriors are in second place in the region, and if they finish in the top two in their league, they will host at least one playoff game.
“The first priority is to make the playoffs,” Guerry said. “It’s hard to talk about seedings and stuff like that since this team hasn’t been in the playoffs. If we play well, we can beat anybody. If we don’t play well, anybody can beat us. We just have to get there, get some momentum and keep it going.”
Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @pandcphil