• Blue Ridge Early College’s Levi Taylor tries to move the ball against Nantahala during the season opener away game Monday. The Bobcats fell to the Hawks, 72-42. (Photo by Kevin Hensley.)
    Blue Ridge Early College’s Levi Taylor tries to move the ball against Nantahala during the season opener away game Monday. The Bobcats fell to the Hawks, 72-42. (Photo by Kevin Hensley.)
  • The 2018-2019 Blue Ridge Early College boys basketball team includes, front, from left, Colton Taylor, Noah Pressler, Mason Baumgarner, and Phillip Arnst; and back, same order, Coach Nick Pressler, Fisher Druffel, Levi Taylor and Jaydon Parris. (Photo by Dan Brown.)
    The 2018-2019 Blue Ridge Early College boys basketball team includes, front, from left, Colton Taylor, Noah Pressler, Mason Baumgarner, and Phillip Arnst; and back, same order, Coach Nick Pressler, Fisher Druffel, Levi Taylor and Jaydon Parris. (Photo by Dan Brown.)

Blue Ridge Early College hoop boys open season

Winter Sports Preview

By Dan Brown / Staff

CASHIERS / GLENVILLE -- A thin roster could derail the Blue Ridge Early College boys basketball team’s plans for the 2018-2019 season. With only nine players currently on the varsity roster, surviving a 40-minute game could prove to be a challenge, but the team’s new coach -- Nick Pressler -- isn’t deterred. His efforts during the fall soccer season produced a Little Smoky Mountain Conference Championship and a 12-2 record.

Pressler knows basketball is a different sport, but he remained optimistic as the Bobcats prepared for the season opener this past Monday on the road against Nantahala. Blue Ridge next plays at home 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12 when it takes on the Andrews Wildcats.

“It’s going to be a fun season, for sure,” Pressler said last week. “You’re going to see a lot of new and different things from us this season.”

Blue Ridge looks to make an impact on the LSMC this season, more so than the 1-5 mark the team posted last year and its 4-19 record overall.

The 2017-2018 Bobcats finished the season strong. They upset LSMC regular season champ and arch-foe Highlands in the conference tournament to earn plateau bragging rights. The nucleus of that team returns led by senior swing man Levi Taylor, standing 6’5” tall and posing a threat from beyond the arc as much as in the paint.

“I am looking forward to this year as a first-year coach,” Pressler said of his upper-classmen, four seniors and five juniors. “Most of the team played soccer, so we are really haven't had a lot of time to work on basketball as a unit.”

Pressler said he admires the players. As students from a small school they have to don many shoes. The soccer team was defeated in the first round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Class 1A state tournament on Nov. 6 and shifted from cleats to Air Jordans, starting basketball practice the next night.

“This is a group of student athletes that are having to learn new offense and defensive schemes in a short amount of time,” Pressler said. “They have really gelled as a unit and are up for the task.”

Levi Taylor, Phillip Arnst, Colton Taylor and Mason Baumgarner return from last year.

“This core group along with the new players should allow us to be very competitive in our conference,” Pressler said. “I had a lot of fun working with these kids during soccer season, and I hope the success we had on the field carries over into the gym this season,” Pressler said.

 

2018-2019 Blue Ridge Boys Basketball Schedule

8 p.m. Nov. 27 -- Blue Ridge hosts Andrews.

6:30 p.m. Nov. 30 -- Blue Ridge visits Hiwassee Dam.

6:30 p.m. Dec. 3 -- Blue Ridge visits Hayesville.

7:30 Dec. 4 -- Blue Ridge visits Swain County.

6:30 p.m. Dec. 12 -- Blue Ridge visits Andrews.

6 p.m. Dec. 14 -- Blue Ridge hosts Nantahala.

7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 -- Blue Ridge hosts Brevard.

6:30 p.m. Jan. 3, 2019 -- Blue Ridge visits Brevard.

6:30 p.m. Jan. 4, 2019  -- Blue Ridge visits Asheville School.

8 p.m. Jan. 8, 2019 -- Blue Ridge visits Cherokee.

6:30 p.m. Jan. 18, 2019  -- Blue Ridge hosts Hiwassee Dam.

7:30 p.m. Jan. 22, 2019 -- Blue Ridge hosts Swain County.

7:30 p.m. Jan. 23, 2019  -- Blue Ridge hosts Mount Pisgah.

6 p.m. Jan. 25, 2019  -- Blue Ridge visits Nantahala.

6:30 p.m. Feb. 1, 2019 -- Blue Ridge visits Highlands.

8 p.m. Feb. 5, 2019  -- Blue Ridge hosts Cherokee.

7:30 p.m. Feb. 8, 2019  -- Blue Ridge hosts Tamassee-Salem.

8 p.m. Feb. 12, 2019  -- Blue Ridge hosts Rosman.

6:30 p.m. Feb. 15, 2019  -- Blue Ridge hosts Highlands.

 

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