New era of varsity players strive to propel the boys basketball team forwards

With varsity featuring many new faces, the boys basketball team is looking to develop team chemistry and rely on their speed and athleticism to have success this season.

“There are definitely a lot of question marks for a team that graduated eight seniors from last year’s team. However, we have a strong group of returning seniors to go along with nine sophomores and juniors that are very athletic,” said varsity head coach Todd Grunloh.

With a young team comes lack of experience, something that varsity center Nate Dodge feels nee

ds to be accounted for.

“We have a bunch of young guys that will be getting a lot of minutes.  We need some players to step up and be leaders on the floor.  As a senior, this role is very important to me,” he said.

In addition, the team is relatively small, which may make certain aspects of the game challenging.

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“With a small team this year, we need to work on our rebounding.  As the center, my goal is to average 8-10 rebounds a game. While this seems like a tough goal, I know I have to work my best to attain it because at many times, I will be the tallest one out there,” Dodge said.

Gaining chemistry and making adjustments is a very important aspect for the guys.

We lost our top scorers last year and need a way to make up those points. We don’t have one specific player who will score 20 plus a game so we all need to contribute.   One player alone is not going to lead us to success,” said junior guard Lucas Buckels.

On defense, the team is focusing on, along with rebounding, causing turnovers, which will result in qui

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ck offensive points.

“We will look to create full-court pressure in hopes of getting easy points in transition,” Grunloh said.

Dodge, who Grunloh calls “the anchor of the defense”, knows the importance of this strategy because it will allow for easy points.

“We will frequently be running a run and jump trap which should result in steals for layups.  As far as transitioning goes, we are looking to get the ball up the floor as fast as possible before the defense can get back,” Dodge said.

Another aspect that the team has continued to work on is the half court offense.

“This year we are perfecting the offense because it was brand new last year. We are working out some of the difficulties we had with it last year,” Buckels said.

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The team is playing some important games against tough competition right out of the gate, including matchups against Antioch, Grayslake Central, and Lakes.

“The two most exciting games, to me, are against Central and Lakes.  It is always fun to play both of them because we all know players on the other team.  These matchups give us the drive we need to pull out a “W” to win bragging rights,” Dodge said.

While the season is just underway, there is adversity overcome over health-wise.

“We are battling some injuries early in the season that will force other players to step up and take the most of their opportunities, Grunloh said.

With that said, as the team continues to gel, there is no lack of confidence in what they can accomplish.

“I am looking forward to seeing our team come together as a whole. We have a lot of guys that have never played together before, but I think once we get used to each other, we can be a very good team,” Buckels said.

After some struggles to begin the season, the team currently boasts a record of 1-4.