Despite averaging more points per game (53.5) than its opponents (50.8), Alcovy was 15-15 overall during its inaugural campaign last year.
In fact, the Tigers came within just one win of claiming a region title (9-8 Region 8-AAAA, Sub-region B), falling short during the first round of the state playoffs.
But their record was deceiving, considering they had eight losses by a total of 16 points. Without a doubt, inexperience and the inability of not knowing how to close out a game played a factor, something that will hopefully not be a problem this year.
"We talked about that," said Alcovy head coach Eugene Brown. "A lot of it was youth and us trying to figure what players could do at the end of the game. We lost a lot of games that we could have easily won, but maybe it served a purpose in helping these guys to recognize different situations and get a little bit hungrier for a better record."
As a result of their success, the Tigers made their schedule a lot tougher this season in order to better prepare them down the stretch.
"Young guys who experience success early sometimes get complacent," said Brown, "so we try to make sure we work a little extra hard in everything to combat that a little bit. They're pretty focused, though, and it hasn't been that difficult.
"I think getting to that level and achieving the notoriety has pushed them a little harder," added Brown.
Many factors can be attributed to why Alcovy endured such success. Not only did the Tigers recognize their abilities and strengths as a team, but they also responded well to what the coaches were trying to get done.
According to Brown, the concerns he had last year are not nearly as overwhelming because his team now has experience.
"We've got kids (who) have been in the system, so they know what we're trying to get done," said Brown. "We can do a lot more things and have more players this year who can actually contribute."
The depth of his bench is what Brown is referring to, which is what the Tigers were lacking one year ago. Had the Tigers not turned the ball over so much last season - which was a result of inexperience and an unproven bench - they would have run the floor a lot more. In addition, they stopped the trapping to keep their main players on the court fresh.
"We want to push the ball down people's throats," said Brown. "Even if they're pressing or trapping, we've got things in line for that."
Clearly, this will be a team effort considering how deep the Tigers are, and there are 17 players who should contribute in some way, shape or form.
"I'm excited about the players we have coming back," said Brown. "They're really dedicated and (have) not shied away from the amount of work we've put on them."
Returning players who should play a vital role are Worrel Clahar and Jordan Butts. These two have led the way for the Tigers during the summer and off-season.
Last year, Clahar (5-foot-10 senior point guard) led the team in points (16.2 PPG) and assists (5.0 APG). In addition, he averaged 5.0 RPG, proving that he can not only shoot but help with the boards.
Butts (5-10 junior shooting guard) averaged 11.5 PPG, including 3.0 SPG.
Kevin Boyle (6-1 junior small forward) should also be able to give the Tigers a lift this season.
Senior Cody Edwards (6-4 small forward), who not only played last year but is a member of the football team, will see significant playing time based on his athletic ability.
"Cody is a much stronger player now," said Brown. "His body is a lot bigger, and he's more confident in what he's doing. He had some spells last year when he was a little timid, but there are no signs of that now; he's going to be big for us."
Keenan Black (6-6 senior power forward) is new to the team, and should also make a big difference for the Tigers.
"They really want to prove and show people that last year was not a fluke," said Brown. "They are determined to show that they're a legitimate ball club. They've set some high goals, but I'll be with them every step of the way."
One such goal is holding opponents to 45 points or below - no small task to say the least. And should the Tigers do that they will most certainly win a lot of games.
"We're going to try to get after it and see what happens," smiled Brown.