Cline stated that he had a pyramid goal for this year’s Gilbert basketball team, sectionals, regionals and then to conquer the state tournaments.
“We have accomplished the first two, now we are working on the third,” said Cline. “This is a goal set at the beginning of the season for the team.”
Gilbert will go up against nemesis Charleston Catholic, this team has stopped Gilbert in their tracks at previous tournaments, but Cline says his Lions are ready.
The coach and his team went last week to check out Charleston Catholic in sectionals and Cline explained that his team feels up for the private school’s challenge.
“We are not afraid of them,” said Cline. “We watched them play against Huntington’s St. Joe and we really didn’t care who won the regional, we felt prepared for either team.”
“We are confident and I think actually seeing them play helped the boys,” said Cline.
“We are not happy to be at the playoffs, many teams are intent to make it,” he said.
“Winning is our goal, we are going to play basketball, we feel like we have earned the right to compete for the state championship.”
Coach Cline said that from the beginning of the season he strategy to assist them in making it to the playoffs. Cline explained that he started by preparing a tougher schedule, picking up teams like Belfry, Westside and Phelps, giving the boys tougher competition.
“I wanted to make sure that they got court time and experience,” he said. “We only lost to Westside and Belfry by three points and lost to Phelps by two, it prepared us for the tournament, even though it made our record 12 and nine.”
He also made sure that he had players, such as Ashton Cline and Josh Carter, who could play various positions on the team, giving the team more depth.
“I can alternate Carter and Cline if someone gets tired, making our bench tougher.”
The coach said that over the past three or four years he has watched other teams at the competitions and picked up pointers from the other teams.
“We can make history by competing in these playoffs, and being the first to bring home the state championship,” he added.
The coach thanked his assistant coaches, Bub Ellis and Jarrod Lester, for all their hard work, stating, and “You’re only as good as your people.”