Al West is ready to test the water, while Kevin Furtado wants to make more waves.
West is leading the Augusta Preparatory Day Schools' boys basketball team this season in his inaugural campaign as head coach of a high school squad.
"This is something I've wanted to do for a while. The opportunity arose and it was a good match," said West, Prep's varsity assistant coach and junior varsity head coach last season.
West is taking over for Kevin Long, who stepped down after three seasons to focus on his athletic director duties at Augusta Prep.
Furtado returns for his second season with the Augusta Prep girls varsity basketball team. In his first year, Furtado's Lady Cavaliers posted a 14-11 record, the best since Prep moved up to Class AAA three years ago.
In previous coaching stints at LaGrange Academy and Nathaniel Greene, Furtado led both teams to the Georgia Independent School Association Class AA semifinals.
Furtado said he believes the Lady Cavaliers can challenge in Class AAA, but he admits it might take time to establish a winning tradition.
"We made a lot of progress last year, but we have to be patient. In a year or two we want to have a team competing for the region title; that's about the right timetable," he said. "We have a more fundamentally sound team this year, but we've got seven freshmen; we're very capable of doing well if things go our way, and if we get the girls to have fun and play with a purpose."
The Augusta Prep teams opened the season this weekend at the Central Fellowship Tournament in Macon, Ga.
The squads will be home Tuesday for games against Long Cane Academy, with the girls tipping off at 6 p.m.
West inherits a team which went 4-20 last year, but he says Prep can turn the tables if the players perform with passion.
"I'll have a lot of patience, but I'm under no illusion that we'll be a force at the outset that we will be three or four years from now," he said. "We have a bunch of kids who like basketball, and some who like it very much. What I really aim to do is get the kids to love the game of basketball."
West wants the Cavaliers to be a fast-break team, keyed by man-to-man defense and full court pressure.
Furtado also plans to have an up-tempo team which uses aggressive play to create easy baskets.
Senior point guard Anna Alexander will run the floor, Rebecca Smith is the top scoring threat and Mary Hannah Lynn, Melissa Appleton, Lauren Claffey and Kaitlyn Gibbs all are solid rebounders. Furtado also has high expectations for freshmen Abby Alexander, Abby Jones, Caroline Hole and Adrian Ash.
The Augusta Prep boys have only two starters returning from last season - guards Jim Bennett and Sam Nicholson. West expects contributions from sophomore Patrick Welch, junior Kyle Arrington and senior Peter Rivner.
"We have a lot of young players. It's really a building season, but I think we're going to surprise some people," West said. "I have confidence in (the players), and if we can win some games early, they'll start believing in themselves."
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