Archive for Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tonganoxie boys need untested subs to step up

Bench production could make or break Chieftains’ season

Derek Lingo tries to protect the rim and contests a drive by Dylan Scates Thursday afternoon at THS.

Derek Lingo tries to protect the rim and contests a drive by Dylan Scates Thursday afternoon at THS.

June 15, 2010

As far as basketball campers go, there were two kinds of guys at Tonganoxie High this past week: The haves and the have-not-yets.

With four upperclassmen that have starting experience flying up the floor, whipping the ball around and finishing inside and out, the starting group was remarkably crisp at THS boys basketball camp.

The have-not-yets didn’t look nearly as polished because they simply have not yet experienced the varsity minutes their counterparts have.

When Jeremy Carlisle, Dylan Scates, Austin Vickers and Dane Erickson were on the floor, those four showed how far the Chieftains program has come in two years under coach Shawn Phillips.

Now the four returning starters and their coach need the rest of the team to follow their example.

“The reason why our first group seems so far ahead is we’ve got a lot of experience returning,” said Phillips, who noted he focused on fine-tuning with the starters and threw in some new wrinkles for them at camp. “That wealth of experience just puts you way ahead of the guys that haven’t stepped on a varsity floor.”

The Chieftains have a few players with limited varsity experience who could help them off the bench in the coming season. Colby Yates, who missed a couple days of camp for an out-of-town golf tournament, as well as Ben Williams and Brady Waldeier played some for THS this past season.

Others who played consistently with the varsity group at camp were Dylan Jacobs, who often ran with the starters, Derek Lingo, Keaton Truesdell and Kody Campbell.

The starters know, Scates said, they will need help from their substitutes.

“I think that’s going to be the key for our success this year — people coming off the bench,” said Scates, a former sixth man.

The rising senior guard said bench production could make or break Tonganoxie’s season.

“I’m going to talk to people coming off the bench personally, because I think that’s the key to how we were so good in the past,” Scates said. “We didn’t really play that many guys but the people that did play gave us good minutes.”

Vickers, another former sub, said he also had some words of advice for the guys coming off the bench.

“Just to know that they’re all gonna get a shot,” the swingman said. “At some point you’ll get a chance to come in and play. And that’s when you can prove yourself to the team, that you’re meant to be here.”

For the players who will be new to the varsity rotation, Phillips said they have to understand the intensity of the varsity level and he hopes they can get to that point this summer.

His biggest concern, meanwhile, is finding someone to play in the post alongside starting pivot Erickson. Three juniors-to-be are the likely candidates for a starting forward spot and each, the coach said, brings something different to the floor. Jacobs is very athletic, Waldeier is physical and Lingo demonstrates great effort and hustle.

“They’re working hard and hopefully between the three of them, we’ll find some that we can work into the mix,” Phillips said.

With the team’s lineup — outside of the top four players — being so up in the air, some underclassmen could even sneak into the rotation. But Phillips said they would have their work cut out for them, considering the talent of their elders. The coach said two rising sophomores were the most likely to play from that group, noting Truesdell had a good camp, especially defensively, and Matt Saathoff has the potential to do good things in the program.

If some subs break into the rotation for heavy minutes, they could have a big impact on Tonganoxie’s success in 2010-11.

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