Growing up in Franklin, Scott Saunders got involved with basketball when his mother signed him up to play the sport. Since then, the now senior has loved playing the game. And although football was originally on his radar when he entered Franklin High School as a freshman four years ago, basketball would eventually become a sport he truly enjoyed playing. Unfortunately, things would not go his way as a Panther.
“During my freshman year at Franklin my grades weren’t were they should be, and I sat down with my parents, and we decided that I should go to Tri-County,” Saunders said. “Since then I’ve turned things around; began taking honor classes and found myself as an honor roll student.”
Upon entering the other Franklin school for his sophomore year, Saunders tried out for the team and found himself as a member on the Junior Varsity basketball squad, and although many be-lieved that he should have been placed on the varsity team, he was not upset.
“I was just glad to be playing,” he said. “I was not mad about being on the JV team, although oth-ers thought differently, I knew that I had to earn a position on the Varsity team.”
Three games into his Junior Varsity career with the Cougars as the team’s guard, Saunders was moved up to the big squad, and four games after that was named a starter – a position that he has held onto ever since.
“I knew that I could play, but originally just happy to get the chance to play,” the TC senior said. “Once I got that starting position, I was not going to give it up. I worked hard during the off-season to get better and stronger to hold onto it.”
Entering his senior and final season, Saunders found himself with yet another coach; during his three years on the TC basketball team the Cougars had three different coaches walking the court sidelines.
“During the first week of tryouts, I witnessed his character and it was evident that everyone re-spected him,” TC Head Coach Bill Cannon said. “He’s a quiet leader, but when called upon gives you his all, you just can’t say enough about him.”
As a three-sport athlete for the Cougars (football, basketball and baseball), Saunders finds himself playing shooting guard and small forward when he’s on the basketball court and realizes that his offense was something that he needed to improve.
“I was known more for my defensive skills, and worked hard on improving my offensive play,” Saunders said. “Each year, my scoring numbers have increased, and this year, I actually had a ca-reer high 22 point game (against Bristol Aggie).”
Being a first-year coach at Tri-County, Cannon has relied on his senior captain’s intellect to help him at times.
“Scott is a very intelligent kid who is able to explain what I am looking to do on the court to the other athletes who don’t quite understand. He’s a very quick study, and I can definitely see coach-ing in his future,” the TC Coach said. “He’s the first to arrive and the last to leave; every coach’s dream.”
Through his three years with the Cougar basketball team, the squad has not done all that well in terms of winning, but Saunders is hoping that before he steps off the court for the final time, he is hoping that he can steer the program in the right direction.
Prior to the season getting underway, Saunders set his goals for the season; individually he wanted to earn All Star status in this his final season with the Cougars. As far as the team goes, he not on-ly wanted to help the team improve in its win-loss record, but he also wanted to help the program for the better.