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The Cullman Tribune

PREP BASKETBALL: ‘There is always room for improvement’: Holly Pond’s Blake Rickard talks sophomore season

By Sammy Confer,

2023-03-15
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HOLLY POND, Ala. — Last season was another great one for Holly Pond basketball. The Broncos compiled over 20 wins and had the no. 1 ranking in Class 2A for most of the season. They won their area championship before dropping a sub-regional game to Tanner in a 65-59, double-overtime thriller. Sophomore Blake Rickard talked about that season and what all he learned from the experience.

“I felt a little disappointed. We had the talent and worked hard every day to put ourselves in a position to make it to Birmingham, but we came up short. We worked hard every day in the weight room and the court,” Rickard said. “I learned not to take things for granted and no matter who you play, to take them as your biggest competitor. You also have to try your best to be perfect at all you do, even the little things. Coach Cory Glasscock always taught us that. Even though we were ranked no. 1 in Class 2A at one point, I learned to not be satisfied with that. We learned a lot as a team, and we all grew up this year. We are already working for next season.”

Blake was so blessed to have played with such a great group of guys last season and has learned a lot from coach Glasscock so far.

“I grew up with these guys and have known them my whole life. Just me getting to play with the guys I love makes it special. We just go play ball and our chemistry is unbeatable. We do everything together and that’s what makes it so special,” Rickard said. “Coach Glasscock is hard on us at times and wants the best of us in students, athletes, and husbands. He’s a great role model and pushes us because he knows what we can do. He also can joke with us at times. He is just a person we like being around. At practice, he jokes and makes things fun and at school.”

Blake saw a lot of growth from this team from two years ago until this past season and learned a lot from the four seniors on the team.

“We grew so much. We were all young and a lot of us played on varsity for the first time. This year, we were more comfortable and confident in the things we did. We grew physically in the weight room and a lot of us matured mentally, so that made a big difference,” he said. “The seniors had a huge impact on this team. They were so fun to play with and to just be a part of. They always kept the energy high and were always there for you if you needed help with anything. After our game against Tanner, I remember just sitting in the locker room and knowing it would be the last time playing with them, it hurt. They were all close on the team and that shows our chemistry. I learned from them to enjoy the time you got because it flies by, and I learned how to be a good leader and role player on the team.”

Blake will be working on a lot of things in the off-season to get ready for next season and some goals for the upcoming season.

“I’m going to get in the gym and lift some weights and get stronger for next season. I’ll also be playing travel ball with Kollin Brown and just trying to prepare for next season. Anytime the gym is open, I’ll be there. I’m personally going to work on my ball handling during the off-season a lot, being able to dribble with my left hand more and getting to the basket. I’m going to do what it takes to perfect my game,” he said. “My individual goals are to try to reach 1,000 points and help my team win as many games as possible. Team goals are to make it to Birmingham and win a state championship. It’s been a dream as a kid to play in front of a crowd like that and I’m going to try my best to make it happen.”

Blake has seen his game grow over the past two seasons and talked about one of his role models that he has looked up to, plus the best advice that he’s ever been given.

“My game grew a bunch. I felt more confident with the ball in my hands, and I felt like I belonged out there,” he said. “I really looked up to my old coach, Griffin Morris. He was always available when I needed help and helped me a lot with my game. The best advice that I was ever given would be to never be complacent. There is always room for improvement, no matter the situation.”

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