Gym rat summer improves cagers

New gymnasium could be valuable sixth man

Loewe Loewe Rockdale Coach Dusty Loewe is hoping that his players started taking steps to improve themselves in June, when he wasn't even around.

That's because for the first time, his three returning starters, Lance Loewe, William McQuitter and Justin Gadison spent the summer in the gym, barnstorming the state and in some cases the nation, on Austin summer league teams.

The trio played approximately 150 games between them.

"I hope it carries over," said Loewe, who begins his 32nd year in coaching and fifth at Rockdale. "Nothing can take the place of experience."

Loewe (911) and McQuitter (909) will both surpass 1,000 career points early this season which would make them the most formidable back court duo in Tiger history.

Should McQuitter turn in the kind of season he did in 2009, scoring 525 points, he will challenge the Tigers' all-time scoring mark of 1,524 set by Sonny Givens from 1991-94.

Loewe would also be threatening that mark, but played his freshman season at Taylor.

Obviously Coach Loewe is not concerned about the status of his top two players, but needs the rest of his squad to contribute more in this season.

McQuitter McQuitter The Tigers return one more starter in the 6-foot-3 postman Gadison (4.9 ppg, 6 reb) who improved at the end of the season, which Loewe found encouraging.

"He finished strong and focused on basketball this summer," Loewe said. "We'll be looking for more from him."

Loewe will also have presumptive starter Joe Sanders back after he missed all but eight games last season after suffering a broken wrist in football last year.

Last year's sixth man, 6-foot-3 Tyler Wright (4.3 ppg), will fill out the fifth slot and give the Tigers some muscle inside.

"I think we can score with anyone in the district and the district will be very strong with one of the teams having a legitimate shot at getting to Austin," Loewe said. "We must defend better and play with more intensity than we did last season. If not, we will sit at home again when playoffs come around."

A Rockdale team has not made the playoffs or posted a winning record since 1997.

Gadison       Gadison The star of the season, however, may be the Tigers' sparkling new gymnasium. Loewe—who chalked up his 450th career win last season—has also revived a long dormant Rockdale tradition with a holiday tournament on Dec. 3-5.

"I think there is a general air of excitement for the season—a new g ym and hosting of the Tiger Classic Basketball Tournament," he said. "A basketball stu- dent support group called "Tiger Nation" in which over 30 students have inquired about... I think the kids are hungry for a playoff run."

TIGER TR ACKS—Because of Rockdale's new facility, for the first time ever, the boys and girls teams will be playing at the same venue... The JV girls, freshman boys and freshman girls will play in the old gym at 5, 6:15 and 7:30 p.m., while the JV boys, varsity girls and varsity boys will play at the same time in the new gym... With four starters back, Navasota is the unanimous choice in District 24-3A and are ranked No. 10 in the state after going 26-3 last year and being booted out by state entrant Hardin-Jefferson. Defending state champion Dallas Madison is No. 1. Liberty Hill—which the Tigers play here Jan. 9 is No. 9.

2009 SCHEDULE
Nov. 17 @ Salado 8
Nov. 20 LaGrange 8
Nov. 23 @ Columbus 8
Nov. 24 @ LaGrange 8
Dec. 1 Smithville 8
Dec. 3-5 Rockdale Tiger Classic
Dec. 8 Lexington 7
Dec. 10-12 Franklin Tournament
Dec. 15 Columbus 8
Dec. 28-30 Lanier Tournament
Jan. 2 Bryan Rudder* 8
Jan. 5 @ Navasota* 8
Jan. 8 @ Caldwell* 8
Jan 12 Liberty Hill 8
Jan. 15 @ Taylor * 8
Jan. 19 @ Cameron* 8
Jan. 22 Madisonville* 8
Jan. 26 @ Bryan Rudder* 8
Jan. 29 Navasota* 8
Feb. 2 Caldwell* 8
Feb. 9 Taylor* 8
Feb. 12 Cameron* 8
Feb. 16 @ Madisonville* 8
* denotes District 24-3A game
2009 TIGER ROSTER
No. Player Height Class
1 Nick Evans 5-9 Sr.
2 Travis Fisher 5-9 Sr.
3 Joe Sanders 6-2 Sr.
4 Cody Skubal 6-2 So.
5 Terral Dixon 5-9 Jr
10 D'vontrae White 5-8 Jr.
12 Reed Davidson 5-11 Sr.
20 Lance Loewe 5-11 Sr.
22 Tyler Wright 6-3 Jr.
23 William McQuitter 6-1 Sr.
30 Justin Gadison 6-3 Sr.
Wright      Wright

TIGER FILE


Coach: Dusty Loewe (5th season,
49-68, 32nd overall 453-402)
2008 record: 12-19
District record: 5-7 (4th)
Returning starters: 5-11 Sr. Lance
Loewe (14.7 ppg, 5 ast, 5 reb, 5
stl); 6-2 Sr. William McQuitter (17.7
ppg, 7 reb); 6-3 Sr. Justin Gadison
(4.9 ppg, 6 reb).
Key returnees: 6-3 Jr. Tyler Wright
(4.3 ppg), 6-2 Sr. Joe Sanders (2.9
ppg), 5-11 Sr. Reed Davidson.
Top newcomers: 5-9 Jr. Terral
Dixon, 5-9 Sr. Nick Evans, 5-9 Sr.
Travis Fisher, 6-2 So. Cody Skubal,
5-8 Jr. D'vontrae White.
District outlook: 4th.
Season opener: at Salado, Tuesday
at 7:30.
Last playoff appearance: 1997
Last winning season: 1997

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2009-11-12 digital edition



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