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Warren Central ready for dual run to the Big House

Vikings take aim at next level

When Jesse Johnson brings his Warren Central basketball team to the court for their first game this season, he wants to make it memorable.

Johnson, in his second season as WC head coach, opens the campaign against Jackson power Provine in the Coca Cola Classic. It wasn’t a matter of getting hold of a bad draw, Johnson actually picked Provine.

“It’s going to be a tough opener, but you have to play the best teams to be the best,” Johnson said. “It’s a challenge we are looking forward to.”

Johnson said he wanted to showcase his team early, allowing for tough games. It will also give the team a quick opportunity to work on their outside shooting.

Last season, WC got most of its points from the front line players. Johnson said he has been working on outside shooting since the end of last season, but said the Vikings will be an inside-out team, preferring to score the bulk of the points close to the basket.

“We look forward to picking up where we left off last year,” Johnson said. “But we will need the guys from football.”

Juniors Quinton Jenkins and Chico Hunter both play football and are on a team that is about to make a run through the playoffs. The longer they are off the court, the more difficult the strategy for Johnson.

“When we get them back, we should be strong at every position,” Johnson said.

The Vikings will feature nine juniors from their playoff season last year.

“We’re looking for a lot of positive things from those guys,” Johnson said.

Junior transfer Carlton Lee as well as Cody Grant, Anthony Lewis, Andy Anderton, Mario Luckett, Jula Pugh, Andre Thomas and Sean Walker make up the nucleus of a deep team.

Johnson said he may toy with the idea of running five reserves in at a time, reminiscent of Tulane University’s famous “Posse” from the mid-1990s.

With WC’s style of up-tempo, in-your-face basketball, the team will need as many bodies as possible.

WC lost several close games last season, but made a late-season run that earned the team the Division 6-5A championship and a first-round home playoff game. The Vikings lost to Moss Point in the satellite game.

“We started last season pretty slow and we want to change that this year,” Johnson said. “We hope to get a fast start.”