Blevins takes over as Sumiton Christian girls basketball coach
by Johnathan Bentley
Nov 20, 2012 | 2413 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sumiton Christian girls basketball coach Justin Blevins instructs a player during practice at the school earlier this month. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
Sumiton Christian girls basketball coach Justin Blevins instructs a player during practice at the school earlier this month. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
slideshow
SUMITON — At first glance, Justin Blevins seems to be inheriting a rebuilding project at Sumiton Christian.

The first-year girls basketball coach has one returning starter from last year’s team and only three upperclassmen on the roster.

Blevins, who takes over as head for Annah Barnett, doesn’t see youth as a negative.

“We are really young, but we have a lot of talent and several players back who contributed last year,” Blevins said. “There are a lot of girls who have experience.”

Blevins has been at Sumiton Christian for five years and has been an assistant varsity coach in baseball, football and basketball. He coached the boys JV basketball teams last year.

Before the varsity girls position came open, Blevins said he had never considered being a girls coach.

“I’m really excited about it. I’ve been at the school five years and I’ve waited for the opportunity. I’ve coached all three sports here (basketball, baseball and football) and have learned from some great coaches here. I also have a love for the school and I like working with the people here,” Blevins said.

“I never thought I would be coaching girls. The job came open this summer and (Sumiton Christian Principal) Mrs. (Cheryl) Capps called me in her office and asked if I was interested. I told her I needed to think about it. That night I called coach (Michael) Rice and he agreed to help me. When he said, ‘yes,’ I took it.”

Blevins’ starting five includes three sophomores (Kirsten Click, Anna Fitzgerald and Kendell Hamm), one ninth grader (Collin Bowen) and a junior, Katlyn Sides. Eighth grader Kendall Beth Sides is the sixth man, providing a spark off the bench. The three upperclassmen are senior Haley Weigent and juniors Katlyn Sides and Alysaa Taylor.

“Being my first year, I want to build a program. Every day is a learning process. Right now I’m implementing things. I took the job late in the summer so we didn’t get to have any summer play dates,” Blevins said. “I’m really stressing defense in practice. We are going to run a man defense. We are going to press a lot to try to create turnovers and get some easy baskets.”

His defensive strategy is already paying dividends. In a 54-14 rout of Shades Mountain on Friday, Sumiton Christian recorded 25 steals.

Blevins’ squad is off to a fast start. The teams is 2-1 after beating Indian Springs on Monday in the Shades Mountain Christian Thanksgiving Tournament. The Eagles defeated Indian Springs 25-23 in the tournament opener on Monday. Sumiton Christian plays in the tournament championship game at 6:30 p.m. today.

Under Barnett last season, the Eagles advanced to the sub-regional round of the playoffs last season, losing to Red Bay.

Hamm is the only starter returning from that team, which finished 13-14.

Along with Rice, Braxton Whitlow is a volunteer coach for Blevins this basketball season.

“Those two are great workers. I couldn’t ask for a better staff,” Blevins said.

Blevins is a 2004 Dora High School graduate. He played golf at Wallace State-Hanceville and graduated from Athens State in 2008.