Many of the names have changed, but the expectations have not. Despite returning just three players from last year's state-tournament basketball team, Tyner is off to yet another fast start, capping a span of three wins in seven days with an impressive 69-52 win Friday night at Arts & Sciences.
"We've got some young guys who are very coachable and have bought in to what we're teaching," Rams second-year coach E'Jay Ward said. "We knew we had some talented underclassmen coming up, but we just hadn't seen them in varsity action. Several of those guys have stepped up already.
"The way we press on defense, we have to have a good rotation of guys coming in to keep fresh legs on the floor. We're scrappy and we've got good size — that's our strengths. Basketball is a vertical sport, so we want to use our length and our speed to wear people down."
With four players standing 6-foot-4 or taller, Tyner's length and pressure defense began to take an early toll on the Patriots. Each of the Rams' first three field goals came off CSAS turnovers, and Tyner grabbed the lead for good midway through the first quarter.
"Their length really bothered us, especially early on," said Patriots coach Mark Dragoo, whose team committed 29 turnovers. "They're big and physical, but this is the type of game that will only make us better. We're a Class A team with a lot of potential and fortunately Tyner is in double-A, so we won't have to worry about seeing them or anybody like them in the postseason.
"We have to eliminate the turnovers and make our free throws, but we were close enough at times that we should be encouraged with what we could be."
Tyner (5-0), which has won each of its games by 14-plus points, closed out the first half on a 6-0 run to build a double-digit lead that it maintained throughout the second half.
Kobe Smith scored 15 of his team-high 22 points in the first and third quarters as Tyner began both halves strong. Solomon Bridgeman added 11 for the Rams, who had 11 players score. CSAS (4-2) was led by Cahlib Edwards' game-high 25 points, and Troy Pride added 16.
Contact Stephen Hargis at email@example.com or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.