The beginning of the season is as good of a time as any to work all the kinks out and mesh a team together for the region schedule later on.
But there are going to be bumps along the way. Especially when those early games are against some of the toughest competition in the state, such as what the Rockdale boys basketball team faced on Friday night.
The Bulldogs (1-1) fell to Miller Grove 79-57 in the Elite 8 Hardwood Classic played at Georgia State on Friday.
"We didn't play well," Rockdale coach Allen Williams said. "We have a few people in different roles that still have to mesh on offense."
The Bulldogs had two players in double figures, while three from Miller Grove finished with 12 points or more.
"We didn't play well offensively at all, and defensively our rotations need a little work," Williams said.
Bernard Thompson led all scorers with 26 points from his familiar small forward position.
However it was the rest of the lineup that is trying to get its feet under it for the Bulldogs.
Kevin Ware played just his second game at point guard, and finished with just two assists to go with his 13 points and eight rebounds.
"We're trying to get him used to running the point and taking command on the offensive side of floor," Williams said of the future Tennessee Volunteer. "He is not there yet, but I didn't really expect him to be there yet."
The Bulldogs are also working sophomore C.J. Wilson into the starting rotation, and getting center Darion Clark into basketball shape after starring as quarterback for the Rockdale football team.
"I think all the problems I saw...are fixable," Williams said. "Even though we didn't win the game and didn't play well this game, it was definitely a good game for us to learn."
The Bulldogs, who are halfway toward their 2009-10 loss total, have a long break before traveling to Richmond Academy on Dec. 3, continuing a difficult out-of-region stretch.
"Our schedule is probably the toughest in the state of Georgia, so I expect to lose some games this year," Williams said. But I expect to win the state championship as well. We're taking this as a marathon, not a sprint."