Boothe, Salter to build new programs at CCA

Published 1:50 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2016

By: Railey Ayers

When CCA’s first year mens basketball coach David Boothe was told that his team had no returning starters from the year prior, and that he was just hired to coach the inexperienced team at a school that would toss football out the window in favor of mens basketball, he did not run away.

Boothe didn’t even shudder. A rocky start was inevitable, but Boothe saw nothing but a chance to build his own program.

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Boothe was given a nearly blank slate for the year with some big shoes to fill, following the abrupt resignation of former head coach John Hii in early February.

Hii, in his stint at CCA, had formulated a monster program. His worst season as head coach came last year when the Cougars lost in the state semifinals, and ended the season ranked No. 3 in the state. Hii’s best season included a state championship in 2015.

Boothe doesn’t have the option of building off of Hii’s success. He was left with only one player that experienced that state title, and one player that played a significant role in last year’s semifinal run.

Needless to say, senior Morgan King is carrying a lot of weight on his shoulders.

“It’s almost a completely different world. I’ve been playing with the same guys my whole career, and six of my life-long teammates graduated last year. And now it’s a different atmosphere, and it’s an adjustment,” said King of the upcoming season.

“We’re a young and inexperienced team now, just learning to play together. We’re all out here just trying to rebuild something.”

On the opposite side of success sat sophomore Chelsea Lewis. Lewis had been a member of a Lady Cougar varsity team that lacked identity for the past two years, and only combined for 12 wins in the past two seasons.

Tides began to turn quickly in the beginning of Lewis’s third year, because first year head coach Connery Salter waltzed into the gym this summer and promised his new team more.

Three sophomores, Brittany Lester, Cassidy Sowell and Lewis are the team’s oldest players, but despite being a young team, the ladies are looking to build up a program as well.

“It’s been a rocky start, but we’re an extremely young team and we’re having to learn how to play as a unit. Coach Salter has worked hard and been very encouraging in spite of our mistakes that come with being so young,” Lewis said.

“We’ve had to start back at square one and really, truly learn the fundamentals of the game, but with continual effort we’re working toward being a good team that others are scared to play. We have years to get better, and maybe even have our picture on the wall with a state trophy. It all starts now.”