When trying to figure out how best to fill the boys basketball job at Doherty, the Spartans decided to things close to the chest.

They have hired assistant coach JJ Brimble on an interim basis for the 2022-23 season and his familiarity with the program is perhaps the biggest advantage that he will carry into the year. He succeeds Eric Stienert, who stepped away from the job this summer.

“We’re going to play our tails off,” Brimble said. “We’re going to get up and down the floor, we’re going to have fun and we’re going to be a lot faster.”

Brimble joined the program as an assistant in 2017. His son Brevin had played for the Spartans and had emerged as one of the premiere scorers in the state. When Brevin graduated, boredom was on the horizon so JJ jumped on board the Doherty staff to continue working with the kids he had become so close to through basketball.

That is one of the most appealing aspects about the job for him is continuing to build relationships with kids while helping them grow into better basketball players and better overall people.

“You have to know each individual kid from your best player to No. 12 on the bench,” Brimble said. “That’s the key to me. You’re only as good as your weakest link.”

He’ll have his challenges through the course of the year. Junior James Pulliam is expected to miss the year because of an injury suffered this offseason but that won’t have any effect on how Brimble plans to approach the season.

Brimble identifies Doherty as the best basketball job in Southern Colorado and also one of the top overall jobs in the state. His desire to get his team playing at that level and no one player will make or break that philosophy.

It’s going to take work across the board for the Spartans to make their way into the Class 6A Great 8, where Brimble says the team belongs. There will be no easing into things as he’s making sure the team plays top-level competition through the course of the regular season.

“We have a tough schedule this year,” Brimble said. “We scheduled tough on purpose so we’ll be battle tested come February.”

Doherty finished the 2021-22 season with a 17-7 record. It earned a first-round bye in the 5A state tournament before getting upset by Mullen in the second round.