Even big guys get the blues.
After a season of coming up short in a rugged region, the big men of the Evans High School basketball team - seniors Mike Armstrong and Ricky Crawford, and junior Hank McCladdie - have no regrets.
"We played against some tough schools and did our best. What more could we do?" Armstrong asked.
At center, Crawford was the Knights tallest player, standing at 6 foot, 6 inches tall and 205 pounds. Forwards Armstrong and McCladdie both stand at 6 foot, 4 inches with Armstrong weighing in at 215 pounds and McCladdie at a lean 175 pounds.
"As big as these guys are, we're in (Region 7-AAAAA) where their substitutions are 6 foot, 9 inches or 6 foot, 10 inches tall," Evans boys basketball Coach Kevin Kenny said.
"It's been a tough year for playing against that kind of talent, but these guys have managed to play well," Kenny continued. "In the second half of the season, they really started to gel as a team."
In the last 10 games, each player has averaged five rebounds per game. McCladdie averaged 14 points per game, with Armstrong putting up 12 and Crawford scoring six per contest.
Next year, Evans drops to Region 2-AAAA. Armstrong and Crawford won't be around to reap the benefits, but McCladdie is looking forward to it.
"I think the competition will be more even," he said. "I'll probably be one of the biggest guys around."
McCladdie and Armstrong are also standout baseball players at Evans, with Armstrong being heavily recruited by Division I colleges. In fact, the catcher skipped basketball in his junior year to concentrate more on baseball.
"I wanted to play basketball again because I missed the competition," Armstrong said of his return to the court this season. "It's my senior year. I didn't want to miss out on anything. Even though we've had a hard time winning this season, I still like being a part of this team."
Coach Kenny is certainly glad to have him back.
"He's a great catcher, and I understand him wanting to focus on that," Kenny said. "But I'm glad he's back. It took him a little while to shake off some of the rust, but he's really come on strong and been a big asset in the second half of the season."
A receiver on the football squad, it's Crawford's defensive skills that earn him respect on the hardwood.
"Ricky's probably the best defender we have," Kenny said. "He's great off the boards and is good at stealing the ball."
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