Hoyt also points out that John Wood brought the right kid back for this season.
After reaching the Region 24 final a year ago, and losing to the eventual NJCAA Division II National Champion, the Rend Lake Warriors, Hoyt basically brought in a brand-new team for this season.
“That was a little different, I wasn’t sure about it when it happened,’’ Tisdale said. “I had built a lot of good friendships.’’
But Tisdale admitted that he trusted the coaching staff, and after a rocky start where John Wood was 5-7 after its first 12 games, the team came together and everything started to click.
“I don’t know that anyone saw what is happening now,’’ he said. “This is an amazing feeling and it’s a new experience for me and everyone else on this team. (Tonight), it’s going be a whole new world for us and we’re getting ourselves prepared to win this.’’
Being the only returning player, a lot was expected early on from Tisdale, but as Johnson said, “as the team spread out the responsibilities, that’s when we started clicking.’’
“T.J. is a great leader and post presence,’’ Johnson said. “But, he also needed our help. We couldn’t expect him to carry the entire load all by himself.’’
The Trail Blazers won 17 of their 19 games after their Christmas break, including six straight heading into tonight’s 8:30 p.m. contest against Fort Scott. And making the school’s first appearance in the National Tournament in 18 years is pretty special.
“Our sophomores last year were talking about making the National Tournament almost every day,’’ Tisdale said. “You could see how passionate they were about it and how badly they wanted to get here. As a freshman, I don’t think I had any idea what that meant. Now, as a sophomore, you look at things completely different.