By MICHAEL S. ADAMS

H-P Sports Writer



FAIRFIELD — Head coach Joey Worley had high expectations for his Fairfield Eagles this season.

Why shouldn’t he?

The Eagles returned 13 letterman from last year’s team and finished third in District 18-3A in the 2004-05 season.

Fairfield took it a step further in 2005-06 and was Co-District 18-3A champions with Madisonville and was just five total points from winning the district crown outright finishing the season with a 5-2 district record, including a sweep of defending champion Mexia, and a 29-6 overall record.

For that success, Worley has been selected as the 2006 Dogwood Circle Coach of the Year.

“The Madisonville losses were disappointing because we lost by two points there and took them to overtime in our place,” Worley said. “But we did have a successful season because of our ability to come together as a team.”

From the start of the season, Worley has stayed with his team concept. He said earlier in the season his main goal was to teach his team how to be good teammates and going out and doing the best for the team.

“We spent a lot of time on that concept,” he said. “A coach can only do so many things, but the big part of our success was our ability to play as one team.”

With the Eagles depth, playing as a team could have been the biggest challenge. Fairfield had a bench nine players deep with each player, according to Worley, having the ability to start any time.

“It’s a good and bad thing,” he said. “The bad part of that is having so many good players with the ability they had it was a constant struggle trying to mix the players ability and getting everyone the minutes of playing time they needed.

“The good side of that is that we were deep and when other teams were starting to fatigue we could put fresh bodies out there and keep playing our style of basketball. It was a big advantage for us.”

Fairfield made a strong playoff run this year before falling to Waco-La Vega in the Class 3A-Region III quarterfinals at Waxahachie High School.

Next season, Worley and the Eagles should be one of the top teams in the new District 19-3A, which includes Palestine and Westwood for the upcoming season, after losing just two starters and four seniors.

Worley said with the addition of the young and up-and-coming Panthers and Wildcats, it is going to be a very tough task to come out on top.

“It will be like it was in the past,” he said. “But Westwood has a very young, but talented team and is on the upswing and so is Palestine. You add Madisonville and Mexia in that mix you are talking about a very good basketball district. It will be very tough and competitive district.”

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Michael S. Adams may be contacted via e-mail at sports2@palestineherald.com

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