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Bringing Back Belgreen Basketball
Posted On:
Monday, February 27, 2017
Head Coach Clint Isbell
Head Coach Clint Isbell
1st year head Coach Clint Isbell and his turnaround season

Mention "Belgreen" to most anyone inside or outside Franklin County, and basketball is immediately the topic of discussion.  We are known for championship seasons, a State finalist team, county/area/Sub Regional and Regional winners, and simply the tradition of loving basketball. Having more than just a disappointing season last year, having only won 6 games and the morale of the program at its lowest point in its history, Clint Isbell was hired in June 2016 and handed the task of "fix this."  That would be a task that he would take very seriously.

Returning, 10 players -and gaining 2 more from the B team- Isbell had more than enough experience to work with early on.  So began the summer workouts, the play dates, and the overall evaluation of where he would be taking the program.  He and his team set high expectations and many goals for their season.  They made a commitment to winning county, area, and the Sub Regional game which would land them a spot in the highly desired Regional Tournament at Wallace State Community College.  While each player and each fan had every right to allow doubt to creep in and take over that these goals would be impossible in just one short season, the confidence in Coach Isbell and his direction, his intentions, and his commitment to them and the program quickly swept away any doubt from settling.

The season opened with a travel to Covenant Christian and a nerve-filled squad took the court.  Having implemented a quick paced, full court press, Isbell and his Varsity boys held the Eagles to a meager 46 points and yet the newly designed offense only managed to put up 41.  With heads held high and expectations/goals still set, his team went on a 8 win/2 loss streak heading into the Christmas break.  The county tournament quickly came and the 1st quarter of the championship game, against Phil Campbell whom had handed the Bulldogs losses in both prior meetings, proved to be the spark they were awaiting.  The buzzer sounded after 8:00 minutes and the scoreboard revealed a dominating performance of 30-4.  After 4, Isbell and his red hot Bulldogs won the 3rd meeting -and the one that mattered most- 73-52.  The title "Champions" once again belonged to us and goal #1 was checked off.  Suffering back to back losses against area rival Hackleburg and the pesky Covenant Christian Eagles, the week before area tournament action began, Isbell regrouped his team and set their sights once again upon being named "Champions" at the end of the area tournament.  Winning the regualr season 1A Area 15, we hosted the area and met Phillips in the opening round.  Impressive is the best word to describe the performance the Bulldogs displayed as the final would be 89-51, winning their way into the championship game where they would face the Tharptown Wildcats.  Again, with the goal of hosting area and winning it in sight, Isbell brought out a confident and ready to play team who dominated from the start.  They again found themselves proudly carrying the title of "Champions" as they raised the 1A Area 15 winners plaque in the air.  With the net being cut, fans covering the court, and flashes of cameras being seen, the feeling of "Belgreen Basketball" had found its way back home.  Alumni of the game, parents, and faculty/staff stood with pride as the hope of the much needed turnaround had been witnessed.

Sub-Regional action began with us hosting the 1A Area 13 runner-up Waterloo and the sentiment of being "Champions" had not been lost.  Having to play the last 2:30 of play to not break the 100 mark, for the 3rd game in a row, Isbell respectfully held his team to working the ball around and using clock.  Fans, parents, and even fans from other schools, witnessed "class" at its finest.  As one man put it "when you CAN score 100, but you choose not to, shows the utmost class."  Being played on Valentine's Day, the student section dressed in red/pink/and white to "show their love" for the Bulldogs.  Chants of "Wallace...Wallace...Wallace..." filled the gym and the Bulldogs gave the crowd what they wanted.  So, once again, goal met.  At Wallace, the Bulldogs met up with South Lamar, who most anticipated as being the hardest team to beat.  Isbell, no doubt, spent countless hours watching film, preparing for the day of travel, and planned out the best course of action to take to take down the Stallions.  For 3 quarters, the Bulldogs held their own, and then the Stallions finished strongly and when the final buzzer sounded, we found ourselves on the losing side of the scoreboard.  And yet...filling the minds and hearts of the Belgreen returning players, and the fans/parents/grandparents, was the hope of the future.  Hope, that has not been felt for a while, that we finally have the right man at the healm of our program.  Hope that this year's team -because of its dedication, hard work, and goal setting/accomplishing- set in motion.  Hope for our younger players and teams that GOOD is here...and here to stay.

This is Coach Isbell's first year to be a head coach...and we are honored, humbled, and incredibly happy that Belgreen is where he chose to tackle the challenge.  We anticipate only good things to come and are proud to give the credit to him for bringing back Belgreen Basketball.

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