THOMASVILLE — Team is the message preached at Cairo practices.

Still, if the Syrupmakers are to improve on last season, when they missed out on the Region 1-AAA tournament, junior Terrance Bowman will lead the way.

“Well, what we try to do right now is get everybody playing on one string and get them in that team concept,” Cairo coach Isiah Chance said.

One concept Bowman has sharpened is shooting. The small forward led Cairo with 14.7 points per game last season on 53 percent shooting. Bowman started his junior campaign with an even better performance. In the Syrupmakers’ 70-56 win at Colquitt County on Tuesday, he drained five 3-pointers to fuel his 30-point outing.

Even with Bowman, point guard Stephen Francis, wing Jacolby Griffin and post Cameron Wade returning along with Gowain Nixon and Darius Brown, the Syrupmakers feature loads of experience. But, Chance said that hasn’t helped speed up the process of the team finding its niche.

“Every basketball team has its own identity,” he said. “Each one has to trust each other and right now, we’re just trying to install those intangibles.”

With Wade and Brown still on the football field, some younger Syrupmakers are finding their chance to fill a role and earn a playing spot later in the year, Chance said.

“You’ve got to take it day-by-day,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of guys playing right now and we can build some strength on the bench and get those guys ready.

“That way when those guys get back, rather than have a six- or seven-man rotation, we can develop an eight- or nine-man rotation.”

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