By Nicole Burns
For the FCT
For the first time in ten years, the Phil Campbell High School Varsity boy’s basketball team made it to the state playoffs. The Bobcats played Friday night at Wallace State in Hanceville. Coincidentally, some of the key characters of the 2006 team are still in play, although their roles have changed.
Current PCHS Principal Gary Odom was the head coach of the varsity boys in 2006, and one of his star players that year, Brett Thomas, is now the varsity boys’ head coach.
“I remember when I was playing on that team, just how good of a feeling it was. All the hard work pays off in the end. I know that’s how the kids feel too,” said Thomas.
Odom agreed. “There’s a lot of comparison between the two. I had really good kids on my team. He’s got really good kids on his team. They all want to win,” said Odom.
The PCHS boys played hard Friday night against Mars Hill, losing by just three points. But this year, both Odom and Thomas agreed, is a building year. “It’s good because the program kind of went down, and the last couple of years, interest is picking back up,” said Odom. “A lot of that has to do with the tornado. The tornado didn’t only destroy the buildings, it also destroyed any confidence anybody had. Everything was low. Now, it’s picking back up.”
“I hope the boys walk away from this year with some confidence,” said Thomas. “A lot of people haven’t given our basketball program the credit it deserves. I think the kids are starting to realize they could not only a good basketball team but can also build the program up to the way it used to be.
“Phil Campbell has always been a basketball school. I think we’re getting to the point now where these kids are realizing that we can get back there again.”
Both men agreed that Friday’s tough loss on the courts should translate into a life lesson in hope and determination. “It’s going to start with them.”