Grant hopes to return Cougars to winning ways

As far as the North Charleston boys' basketball team is concerned, every day is a new opportunity, the beginning of a new day.

"We come to work every day," said North Charleston basketball coach Tron Grant, whose team opened the season with just one victory in 10 games. "Our motto is 12:01, because 12:01 is the start of a new day."

The Cougars have had three coaches in three years, and that's caused the players to endure different coaching styles and success.

Two years ago, Blake Hall was in his first year at the school and led the Cougars on a magical playoff ride that concluded with a 23-6 record and the Class AA state championship.

Shaun Haggerty took over the program last year and the team struggled with a 4-20 record.

Grant is in charge this winter and hopes to give the program stability. But the success rate is still down.

"There's a lot of great basketball tradition in North Charleston," said Grant, who came to North Charleston after a stint as an assistant at West Ashley and head coach at Baptist Hill. He led the Bobcats to a berth in the Class A state title game in 2008.

"Having so many coaches in such a short time makes it difficult on everybody, especially the players. It's tough. We try not to look back at the past. We just want to look ahead because better things are ahead. I know things will turn around because the kids work so hard."

The key issue is playing 32 minutes of basketball. The Cougars have demonstrated spurts of good play, but must be more consistent.

"We just have to finish better," Grant said. "We continue to play better, but we have to play four quarters of basketball. I know this effort and hard work we're putting in will pay off."

Key players for the Cougars include Antonio Mack, brothers Statan and T.J. Levine, Rick Simmons and Josh Gantt.

Eight lettermen are back from last year, and there is potential, if the past is any indication. In addition to the state title, the Cougars have won three region titles in the last six years.

"It's just a matter of getting the losing out of our system," Grant said. "The players want it to bad. I will tell you one thing: The effort is there. The record just doesn't show it."