Bastrop High's basketball team has experienced its share of ups and downs this summer. Having played 24 varsity games and about half as many junior varsity contests, the NBAesque summer schedule has provided the Rams with an opportunity to upgrade their skills.

Bastrop is back in action Thursday at Carroll, taking on Neville at 4 p.m. and Carroll at 5.
Closing out the summer, the Rams will play six games in three days at the ULM Team Camp, Monday-Wednesday.

Bastrop coach Theabury Odom is uncertain of the Rams' record this summer, but says, “We're probably a little under .500. We've won some games against some smaller schools, but we've struggled against the traditional basketball powers like Ouachita, Richwood and West Monroe.”

The struggles weren't unexpected. Although the Rams lost only three seniors, Chris Moore, Williams Lee and Denzel Devall combined to form one of Bastrop's biggest lineups in years. In addition, leading scorer Jay Wilson has missed over half the team's games due to offseason football activities.

This week has been a mirror of the Rams' summer season. After winning at Franklin Parish on Monday, the Rams came out on the short end of a 68-42 decision against Farmerville on Wednesday night at Sam's Place.

“We've been inconsistent because we're so young,” Odom said. “One night, we'll come out blazing and the next night our youth will show.”

On the bright side, the Rams are getting their reps in.

“The effort has been good,” Odom said. “I can't help but think the playing experience will pay off for us.”

For the most part, point guard Lester Lee has been the only returning starter in the lineup.

Center Demarkiyo Devoil, who came off the bench last season, is being counted on to provide an inside presence, but his contributions have been hindered due to a sprained ankle.

“Demarkiyo is playing on a bum ankle,” Odom said. “Before spraining his ankle, he was contributing — blocks, rebounds and scoring. He has shown a lot of character. He wants to be out there. He's going to be a big factor for us, but he's playing in pain right now.”

Wilson has been effective when available.

“Jay's a difference-maker,” Odom said. “I think once we get him back, we'll be all right.”

Lee is joined in the backcourt by Dequan Jenkins and LaMicah Harris. Marty Thompson has been a swingman, with Juan Norris and Travon Washington at the forwards and Devoil at the low post.

“We have a lot of new people who are trying to learn to play together,” Odom said. “The main thing this summer is we have had to change some things offensively. When school gets here, we'll start getting more into the defensive details. We have a lot of teaching to do.”

The summer has also provided the incoming freshmen with an opportunity to be introduced to the program.

“We have some younger guys who can play, but you have to remember that they're coming in from three different feeder schools (Morehouse, Delta and Beekman),” Odom said. “Most of those guys are used to being superstars, so they're having to learn to distribute the ball a little more evenly.”

Of course, the ultimate goal of summer ball is to prepare the team for the upcoming high school season.

“Even though we're young, I'm excited about the season,” Odom said. “We'll probably take some lumps early. But I think we'll be able to compete once we get everybody together and everybody learning their role.”