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Almost everyone is back for Clinton High School’s boys’ basketball team, which means the Red Devils have hopes of being far more competitive.

They’re not high hopes. Last season, Eddie Romines’ team went 1-23.

Four years ago, Romines’ first team advanced to the Class 3A Upstate finals. His first three reached the playoffs.

“We’re faster, quicker, stronger, more confident and we are shooting the ball better,” Romines said. “The area that I see the biggest improvement is in mental toughness. It’s going to take mental toughness to compete in our region but I think we’re going to be up to the task.”

Lacking only one player, the graduated Konner Richardson, from last year’s team, the Red Devils should, at the very least, be far more competitive.

“As usual, Region 3 is going to one of the toughest in 3A,” Romines said. “The coaches’ preseason poll in our region picked Emerald number one, Chapman number two, Union number three, Broome number four, and Clinton and Woodruff tied for fifth. Only two teams make the playoffs from each region this year. It’s going to be tough but I’m confident that we’re going to be much improved this year and compete for one of the top two spots in the region.”

Romines is 48-51 in four years at the helm. Entering last season, he was 47-28.

Clinton’s 12 returning players add up as six sophomores, five juniors and one senior.

“We return one senior, guard Kimon Quarles, and we will lean on him for leadership,” Romines said. “This will be his third year of varsity basketball. He sets a good example for the younger guys with his work ethic and his competitive nature.”

Depth is Clinton’s strength. The top scorers in 1919-20 were Jadden (8.3 average) and Austin Copeland (8.2). Davis Wilson averaged 7 points and 6 rebounds. Quarles (5.1) and Wil Stewart (5.2) are among 10-12 players Romines expects to see playing frequently.

“Every year our goal is win the region championship and state championship,” Romines said. “Ultimately, as one of our players put it, our goal is to improve every day, have a better record than last year, and play more complete games as a team.”