Last year Scott Hodges was on the bench next to coach Robert Foreman as Westmoore struggled through one of its toughest season in the program's history. After their 2-19 season, Foreman stepped down to take a job in Mustang and Hodges was promoted to take over the varsity squad.

After only three years as an assistant coach, Hodges knew it was his time to jump into the hot seat of a head coach.

"I definitely felt I was ready to make the jump to become the head coach at Westmoore," Hodges said. "I really felt I had an advantage because I have such a good relationship with all of our players here. They know what I expect and what kind of people I want them to be, so it was an easy transition."

Hodges graduated from Shawnee High in 2001 before attending Oklahoma Christian University, where he was a varsity basketball player under Dan Hays.. he was a member of the 2004-05 Sooner Athletic Conference Championship team that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in the NAIA National Tournament.

Even then Hodges knew where he wanted to see himself after college.

"For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a coach," Hodges said. "I really cherish the opportunity to impact young people on a daily basis. I always thought I would become a head coach at a young age. I have been around some really knowledgeable and successful basketball coaches that I have developed my own coaching philosophy from."

The Jaguars opened their season last week with a 47-42 loss to Norman North. Even though they trailed by seven at halftime, Westmoore cut the lead down to three in the third quarter and had a shot to take the game.

"I felt we competed really hard and I was extremely proud of them," Hodges said. "Norman North has a really good team and they will win a lot of games this year. We talked about playing confident and competing to the best of our ability and I felt, for the most part, we did that. We need to execute better down the stretch, but we will learn from this and do a better job next time."

They then traveled to Midwest City and lost 77-38 to the eighth-ranked Bombers and dropped to 0-3 after falling to Southmoore.

Due to his team's youth, Hodges knows his squad will struggle to keep it's consistency this year. Because he is still young enough to remember what it was like to go through a high school season, he sad that will help him and his coaches relate to the players as they navigate through the expectations they have set for this season.

" I feel very fortunate to be in the position I am in at such a young age," Hodges said. "I have always thought though that my age is a benefit, not a detriment. I can relate to our guys and I know what they are going though as student-athletes. We have a really young staff, but I feel that is a really unique and special thing."

While coaching and attitude will play a big part in the team's success, it starts with the players on the court first and foremost. And Hodges believes the Jaguars have some solid pieces to work with this year.

Seniors Michael Glover and Andrew Baker are expected to have good seasons. Junior Blake Pullman can light it up from the perimeter and sophomore guard Kyle Lakin, Beau Palmer and Corey Pompey will contribute also.

"It is extremely important for us to play team basketball," Hodges said. "We don't have one or two guys that can carry us offensively or defensively. I really like our team and the attitude and effort they have given so far. They have really bought in to what we are trying to establish here at Westmoore. I feel throughout the season, we will get better and better if we keep working hard."

Westmoore face Moore and Mustang this week before heading into the Christmas Break. It's a shot for them to get their near or above the .500 mark. After the break, their schedule gets tough.

"We have an extremely difficult schedule," Hodges said. "We play in one of the best conferences in the state and play in two really tough tournaments. The biggest key for us is going to be to not get too high after a good performance and not get too low after a bad performance. We want to be playing our best basketball in February. Even though our schedule is tough, we expect to compete every game. We are not going to use the excuse that we are young and inexperienced; we are going to battle every team we play. If we do that, I feel we can surprise some people and have success this season."

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