WICKSBURG, Ala. (WDHN) — The Wicksburg boys basketball team went undefeated in their area last season before falling to Houston Academy in the area championship.

As area play gets underway this week the Panthers are working to have another successful year.

“It’s good to have these types of expectations going in,” Wicksburg Head Basketball Coach Colby Thomley said. “We know we’re capable of winning the area championship, but it’s going to take a lot for us to do it. We’ve been pretty banged up, so looking to get everybody back healthy after this new year.”

The last time the Panthers won an area championship was 2013, so after going undefeated in area play but ultimately losing the crown they’re ready to bounce back better this year.

“It’s a really tough area again, and it’s gonna take us to play hard every night,” senior Jackson Glover said. “Anybody can beat us so we’ve just got to come out and play our game every night.”

Along with success in area play the Panthers had their first 20 win season for the first time since 2013, going 20-8 last year, and made it to the sweet sixteen of the 3A tournament.

“We just worked hard together and we had really good team chemistry and I think we can do it again this year, but it’s going to take a lot of hard work,” senior Dalton Taggart.

Four members of last year’s team return for this season.

The panthers believe team chemistry is their greatest strength.

“A lot of chemistry just because of how well we know each other and how good of friends we are,” senior Devontae White said. “We just get out there on the court and its like nobody can stop us. That’s how we play.”

“We’ve been playing basketball for like forever together,” Glover said. “Coming up through rec league and everything, it just helps a lot just knowing better how everybody thinks.”

At this point in the season the team has had to overcome many injuries, so staying healthy will be key during area play.

“We’ve just got to have some guys step up,” White said. “We don’t have a big team, not a lot of size, so when somebody gets down we just gotta trust the next man to come in and take his spot.”

“We don’t have a ton of depth,” Thomley said. “I think we’re dressing eight or nine, sometimes nine, so just staying healthy is really the key. It’s just going out playing our game every night. We think we’re capable of winning some games. We’ve just got to play well.”