The Elkmont basketball program, featuring two winning teams with the boys and girls squads, is experiencing success on the court.
Going into Christmas, the Elkmont boys have a record of 11 wins and six losses. The Elkmont girls, winning on a regular basis as well, have a record of 14 wins and five losses.
The boys are currently riding a five-game winning streak that includes a couple of buzzer-beaters along the way: one versus Wilson and another one against Limestone rival Clements from half-court.
“You see them on Sportscenter but to actually live it is different,” said boys head coach Eric Smith. “It was fun and rewarding for the kids.”
During this streak, they have wins over Clements, Ardmore twice, Colbert Heights and Lindsay Lane.
Clements, at 13-2, is the only team in the county with a better record right now.
Over the course of the season, they are 6-2 at home and have outscored their opponents by over 60 points.
Their success this season builds on their 21-win season from the year before, as they are establishing a culture of doing things the right way.
“These are real good kids who understand the importance of hard work,” Smith said. “It is paying off on the court because they are good kids on and off the court.”
Despite them losing their leading scorer and leading rebounder to graduation, the Red Devils keep on rolling. They pride themselves on being able get a bucket or a key stop from anyone on the floor.
The girls are currently on a six-game winning streak and have the best record in the county.
During their winning streak, they have won by four points, 12 points, 51 points, 39 points, 33 points and 22 points, respectively.
Those wins have come against Clements, Ardmore twice, Colbert Heights, Lindsay Lane and Wednesday versus Richland.
Over the course of the season, they have outscored their opponents 962 to 831.
The season comes on the heels of a successful 2020-2021 season that saw them win 21 games to their ten losses.
It is quite the turnaround for a team that is two years removed from a three-win season.
Elkmont girls coach Sam Wallace said this is due in large part to the senior group, who were freshmen when he took the head coaching role.
“We wanted to change the culture around here,” Wallace said. “We said ‘let’s make winning a habit.’ Our seniors have led that.”
The Elkmont girls have made it happen in a variety of ways, with multiple players being able to score, the whole team playing good defense and also frequently using the full-court press.
According to Wallace, they average 15 assists per game.
“They really don’t care who scores,” Wallace said.
The success of both the boys and the girls teams have brought pride to the Elkmont community and have garnered the attention of the rest of Limestone.
According to Smith, the community appreciates how hard they play on the court.
Their combined winning percentage is just under 70 percent.
This praise additionally comes from the coaches themselves.
“Coach Wallace does a great job with the girls,” Smith said. “It is fun when we are both having success.”
One common denominator between Smith’s boys and Wallace’s girls is the intensity of their practices. Both coaches made it a point of emphasis that practicing hard yields great results.
Another aspect they have in common is the coaches’ commitment to the program and the players’ loyalty to the system.
With the Limestone County Tournament right around the corner, the Red Devils are hoping to carry the momentum into the competition, taking place in the middle of January.
“Winning the county tournament is a goal of ours,” Wallace said. “But right now, we are focused on being one percent better today than yesterday.”
“The county is very competitive this year. Either you come to play or you get beat,” Smith said. “But, to quote ‘Hoosiers,’ do not talk about the next step until you’ve climbed the one in front of you.”
For the boys, they have five games remaining before the start of the county tournament. They are against Lawrence County, West Limestone, Lauderdale County, Colbert Heights and Clements.
For the girls, they also have five games remaining before the county tournament. They are against Hatton, West Limestone, Lauderdale County, Colbert Heights and Clements.