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Hewitt-Trussville trying to ‘make life miserable’ for opponents

By Gary Lloyd

TRUSSVILLE — The system is working.

First-year Hewitt-Trussville head basketball coach Mike Dutton said before the season got under way that he was “cautiously optimistic” about the team’s chances at a solid 2013-2014 season.

“We’re going to play fast,” Dutton said the week before the season started.

The Huskies have.

Hewitt-Trussville trounced Boaz in the season-opener Nov. 11, winning 65-30 after building a 38-13 halftime lead. Three days later, the Huskies gutted out a 63-58 win at rival Clay-Chalkville, scoring nine of the game’s final 13 points.

“I learned that we have a big heart as a team,” Dutton said after the game. “I think we’ve got some courage.”

Hewitt-Trussville head basketball coach Mike Dutton instructs players at Clay-Chalkville on Nov. 14.
photo by Ron Burkett

Dutton’s style is called “The System,” a “really, really fast” offensive mindset that includes taking the first open shot available. When Dutton first started coaching, he employed the Auburn shuffle, pioneered by former Auburn head basketball coach Joel Eaves, an offense expanded from former Oklahoma head coach Bruce Drake’s style. The offense can be run continuously from either side of the court, with players already in position to begin another set from wherever they are located.

“Coach Dutton’s style of play is really fast, especially in transition, and you have to be in really good shape to play in his system,” said senior guard Jarvis Calhoun. “I love his system. It’s great for our team because we are not that big of a team. Our guards are very quick, so his system fits us well.”

When Dutton coached at Oneonta, his team won a game 117-111 and beat Springville 124-123 in another contest. His team was down 22 points with two minutes left in the third quarter at Gardendale on one occasion, but won 109-102. The offense has “comeback ability,” Dutton said.

Defensively, Dutton wants to see a lot of effort and players crashing the boards on both ends of the court. The defense was superb down the stretch in a 56-52 Huskies win at Center Point on Nov. 18. Hewitt-Trussville was 7-2 after its first nine games, falling in its past two to Bob Jones 55-52 and to Mountain Brook 81-48.

“We’re trying to change defense, be multiple on defense and try to make life miserable on both ends of the floor,” Dutton said after the Clay-Chalkville game.

Dutton said the plan is to get up and down the floor as fast as “humanly possible.” Hewitt-Trussville begins Class 6A, Area 12 play Thursday when it hosts Carver-Birmingham at 7:30 p.m.

“When you play like we play, it’ll make you look like the worst coached team in America,” Dutton said. “But when it starts clicking, then it’s so much fun. I think people will really enjoy it.”

Contact Gary Lloyd at and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.

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