Basketball season is now in full swing across Gadsden county and West Gadsden High School is 3-0 under new head coach Gene Granger.
Granger is a 1999 graduate of Florida High in Tallahassee and had a great career scoring over 1,200 points as a shooting guard and leading the 'Noles to two Final Four appearances. He went on to play one year at Tallahassee Community College before taking his talents to Charleston Southern University where he was the Buccaneers’ team captain as a junior and senior.
He began his coaching career as an assistant coach for Florida Southern College in 2003. Granger also coached AAU basketball before coming home to coach his high school alma mater. He spent the past 2 years working with athletes at Titus in Tallahassee before coming to West Gadsden as the head basketball coach.
"We didn't get started on basketball until practice started since this is my first year at the school. The guys are clicking well to be young and for all of this to be new," he said. The Panthers have clicked their way to a 3-0 start and Granger is happy with that start.
"It's a learning process," he said.
West Gadsden opened play Dec. 1 against Sneads, beating the Pirates 57-51. Point guard Monterio Williams led the Panthers with 12 points, eight assists and three steals. Phillip Bradwell added 11 points and Damion Lowery snatched down eight rebounds and also added nine points in the win.
Game two on Dec. 3 was at North Florida Christian where the Panthers came home with a 54-39 win. Damion Lowery scored 16 points, had five assists and also grabbed seven rebounds, while Monterio Williams pitched in 11 points and six assists and Kelvin Martin added nine points and six boards.
The third game of the young season was at home where they once again played North Florida Christian, beating the Eagles for a second time with a 52-48 final. Larico Dickey led West Gadsden with 13 points to help keep the Panthers unbeaten.
The Panthers play Liberty County today and then travel to cross county rival East Gadsden Friday.
Granger is excited about the fast start of his new team.
"We are looking forward to the next game. We want to continue to grow and improve," he said.