PREP BASKETBALL: ‘Give all glory to God’: Holly Pond’s Sawyer Olinger recaps sophomore season

Holly Pond’s Sawyer Olinger. (Bill Piper/The Cullman Tribune)

HOLLY POND, Ala. — The Holly Pond Broncos are coming off another great basketball season that saw them collect over 20 wins and add an area title to their trophy case. Sophomore Sawyer Olinger recapped that season and talked about what all he learned, plus what it was like to play with this group of guys.

“I thought it went great. It was a big improvement from last season, and we all grew as a team and as a family. We went from a losing record and not even winning the area championship to having a 20+ winning season and winning an area championship. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t go farther than what we did. We had talent and an amazing coaching staff that knew a lot about basketball and the things we needed to succeed,” Olinger said. “I learned a lot this season. I learned that it’s not about how you feel, but it’s what your job is. I also learned that having good chemistry with your teammates goes a long way. We didn’t have the best season last year, but when we came together, started to hang out with one another and build relationships with each other, that’s when our team really came together and that’s when we really started to play good.”

He added,

“It was always a fun time. We had a lot of energy every day in practice and when one of us was having a bad practice, we picked each other up. I was friends with everybody on the team and I’m going to miss the seniors that are graduating. I’ve gotten to know them really well over the past years.”

Sawyer learned a lot from this year’s seniors: Gunnar McBee, Diego Garcia, Christian Couch, and Levi Farr.

“The seniors were fun to be around. They were all fun to talk to and hang out with. All of them were great teammates. They knew their role and knew what we needed them to do for us to be great. I learned to not take high school sports for granted because it comes and goes as soon as you know it. I also learned to always have fun, winning or losing. It’s always best to have energy and to show good sportsmanship.”

Sawyer played for coach Cory Glasscock last season in his second year as head coach and soaked up as much as he could from him.

“It’s been fun. He is a talented coach and probably one of the best coaches I have had. He is always on us when we aren’t giving 100%, no matter if we are in the weight room or on the court. I have a lot of respect for him because he is always joking around with us, and he has a really good personality. I would say I have learned how to show class and that whatever I’m doing, I always need to try my hardest and work towards that goal. He has told us that when you get older, it’s not about how you feel, but it is what your job is and that is something I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Sawyer has seen this team grow a lot from two years ago to now and he’ll continue to work in the off-season to get better for next season.

“I feel like we have grown a lot. We have totally flipped our record from awful to really good and I hope we can keep that going this year. I really think the reason for that was because we worked our tails off this summer and that is what has allowed us to improve and go farther than we did two years ago. We have all gotten a lot stronger and more talented. I give our strength coach and great coaching staff all the credit for that,” he said. “I want to work on all aspects, but most importantly, hitting shots and playing defense. I wasn’t the greatest scorer last season and I want to get really good on defense. I also want to work on finding open teammates and reducing my turnovers from last year.”

Sawyer talked about his goals and the team goals, plus what will make this team special to watch next season.

“An individual goal is to improve from last year and to become a better teammate. A team goal is to go to Wallace or even try to go to Birmingham,” he said. “I think our chemistry and our energy will make us special to watch next year because we always bring energy on the court and even on the bench.”

Sawyer watched a very special Holly Pond team from a few years ago when he was younger, plus he talked about the best advice that he was ever given.

“Growing up, I always remembered watching Drew Jones, Bailey Smith, Dawson Foust, and many others that played on the team that went to the Final Four. I always thought greatly of them and how good they were,” he said. “I would say the best advice someone has gave me was that no matter what you do, small or big, give all glory to God. I believe it is important to remember Him and what He did and to always show gratitude towards Him.”

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