Just one year ago, Coahoma Early College High School was one game away from the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 3A boys state basketball tournament with a veteran roster.
Then the school went to a true early college format where the football program was eliminated and several of the basketball players transferred to Coahoma County High School.
Isaiah Galmore is an exception, is currently a sophomore at CECHS and will be a focal point of the Tigers in the upcoming 2020-21 basketball season.
Students must apply to attend CECHS and Galmore, a point guard and wing on the basketball court, is also an honor roll student and was accepted into the early college program.
“Me and the staff, we have good connections,” Galmore said. “They know I try my hardest and all.”
Galmore hopes to go into business and entrepreneurship and is taking a career exploration class at the college level.
“It’s a little simple class,” Galmore said. “I’m just learning the basics before they give me all my classes.
“Most likely, I want to start real estate. Before I go anywhere else, I’ll most likely start in Coahoma County to build the town and county.”
Galmore did not shy away from a challenge in the classroom and he is taking the same approach on the basketball court.
“I know this season is going to be a wild roller coaster,” Galmore said. “I know that for sure. There are going to be ups and downs, but if we just stick through it, most likely we’ll come out somewhere on top.”
Galmore does not have any specific goals for the team at this point, but he is confident the Tigers will have success.
“I’m just looking to improve the team because a lot of my old teammates, they went to a new school,” he said. “I’m just working with new people trying to get them better.
“The only time they really got to play basketball was gym time and all that or they’ll usually play in the park. I keep telling them every day it’s different from park ball. It’s more organized so you’ve got to stop being nervous and do more.”
Galmore said there are currently two seniors and three juniors on the roster.
“If everyone stops being nervous and just gets out of their comfort zone, we’ll be a good first round team,” he said.
Galmore overcame his own challenges as a freshman.
“Before I as injured, I was varsity and then I played JV for the rest of the season,” said Galmore, who sprained his right ankle, but said it is much better now.
When there was some doubt about CECHS having a basketball season, Galmore was still preparing. He worked out with his freshman-year coach Corney George and coach Gregory Neely Jr. George and Neely are currently coaches in the Clarksdale Municipal School District.
Coahoma Community College men’s basketball coach Micheal Stringer also worked with Galmore.
“Before I knew I had a season, I was working out with Coach George and Coach Neely and they helped me out a lot,” Galmore said. “Then, towards the end of the summer, me and Coach Stringer started getting a bond and I started working with him a lot more.”
Galmore has also played for the Mississippi Delta Elite in AAU basketball. Elite coach Dennis Dupree Jr., also with the CMSD, has worked with Galmore.
Galmore’s cousin, Bentavious Galmore, who currently plays for Coahoma Community College and is a Coahoma County High School graduate, has also helped him with his game.
Cameron Monix, the new Tigers coach, is currently working with Galmore.
“He helps a lot,” Galmore said. “He teaches me more.”
The Tigers showed promise as a team in a scrimmage against adults.
“It went well,” Galmore said. “For us not to have a lot of chemistry, we did well.”
The COVID pandemic has not only provided challenges off the court, there have been obstacles playing basketball.
“COVID, it tires you more because you’ve got to wear a mask,” Galmore said. “The mask running up and down the court doesn’t blend together. Then, during practice and all, I usually go to the court, workout by myself or I go to a disclosed location to workout.”
Galmore started playing basketball in second grade in the Coahoma County School District elementary league. A Jonestown native, Galmore played for Jonestown Elementary School for coach Cranston Hill. He said Hill helped him more than any other coach, even when he played for Coahoma County Junior High School.
“He always comes out of nowhere and just helps me out,” Galmore said. “During my junior high season, he came to a couple of my seventh grade games and I really didn’t play that much. But then my eighth-grade year, he just showed up. During halftime, he’ll tell me what to do, what I’m doing wrong and then usually it’ll elevate my game during games.”
Looking back on his career, Galmore said his best game was at home against Madison Palmer in eighth grade.
“Defensive-wise, I had the most steals,” Galmore said. “I had a lot of assists. I was just all over the court scoring.”
Galmore said the Madison Palmer coach also saw something in him.
“We made it to the championship that year,” Galmore said. “We lost to an undefeated team.”
Galmore’s cousins Chris Brunt and Patrick Campbell Jr. played basketball before him. Both graduated from CECHS when it was Coahoma Agricultural High School. Brunt played for Coahoma Community College.
Galmore’s goal is to play college basketball for Jackson State or Alcorn State university.