Rutherford ready for preseason hoops

SPRINGFIELD, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - As football season winds down, the high school basketball season is about to tip off.

A handful of teams in our area open the year with preseason classics this week. That list includes one of the most successful coaches in the region, Rhondie Ross and his Rutherford Rams.

The boys team hosts a doubleheader Monday, beginning with Chipley and Mosley squaring off at 4:30. Later, the Rams take on Port St. Joe at 7:30.

Coach Ross and the color scheme might be the only things you recognize with this year's team. Only four players total return from the 2016 roster. They need some time to grow, but that's what this stage of the season is for.

"We had a 13 man roster last year. We lost nine guys, and out of those four returning players, only two of them saw significant minutes," Ross said. "Lacking a lot of experience, we're pretty far behind where we're accustomed to being at this stage of the season, so we'll probably be inconsistent, but hopefully we'll put it together at the end of the season."

The regular season begins next week.