Clearfield Alliance boys have set high goals this season|
Friday, November 23, 2012
By Jaclyn Yingling Sports Editor
After going winless for the last several years, the Clearfield Alliance Christian School boys basketball team is ready to break that streak, setting some high goals for this season.
"It's definitely more than just getting a win," said CACS head coach John Wharton. "It's the team concept. Last year, one player stood out here, one player stood out there. This year, it's a total team effort. We are going to feed the hot hand. But we are focusing on a team.
"If you play as a team, defenses can't focus on one person. That's what we have been stressing. Our goal is to make each other better."
The Crusaders return four letterwinners who started last season, losing only fifth starter Andy Jury to graduation.
That includes junior Jason Eveleth, who led the team in scoring last season, averaging 9.7 points per game.
Also back is senior big man Steven Kumm, who played in all 18 games last year.
Sophomores Tyler Jury and Devon Shimmel also return to a team that struggled to get its offense going last season.
But with another year under their belts, and some extra inches gained in the offseason, the Crusaders look to be more competitive in the Western Division of the Allegheny Christian Athletic Association.
"We have some experience," said Coach Wharton. "It's refreshing. It's really nice to see that the older gentlemen are using their experience to bring along some of the younger kids. At this age, the boys are growing a lot and we actually see some size on the team this year.
"Their attitudes have been great. They are very hungry for a win. They have an opportunity to do it this year."
The team also has back freshman Cody Fleming and eighth grader Jarret Wharton, both of which saw plenty of time off the bench last year.
Wharton averaged 1.0 ppg last season as a seventh grader, while Fleming played in all but one game.
"There are several young men, Jarret, Michael and Cody, that they are growing and getting better with each practice," Coach Wharton said. "There is definitely a lot more expected of them this year. We are looking for them to step up and take on that added responsibility."
New to the team are eighth grader Michael Fitt and seventh grader Zech Tihansky. And, with just eight kids on the roster, both will be expected to play a lot during the season.
Still, Wharton is pleased with what he has seen so far in practice and thinks this team will be able to throw the complete package out there come game night.
"That's the encouraging part," he said. "They each have talent and they have the ability to come up big in games. What we are concentrating on this year is playing together as a team and getting that consistency and effort every week.
"If we are all on the same page, I think we are going to be able to compete and do well."
Like their female counterparts, the Crusaders will focus a lot on their defense this year. If the team wants to be able to compete they will have to stop the other team, something they struggled with last year.
"We are stressing defense to them," said Coach Wharton. "We tell them, ‘Your shot is not going to be there every night, but your defense can be.' We will build on that. I will take a good defense any day."
The Crusaders open the season at Clymer on Nov. 30.
Tyler Jury, Devon Shimmel.
Michael Fitt, Jarret Wharton.
*Denotes returning letterwinners.
4-Blair County Christian; 7-8-at Clymer Tip-Off Tournament, 4:30 p.m.; 14-Grace Prep; 18-at Huntingdon Christian; 21-DuBois.
7-at Blair County Christian; 8-Great Commission; 15-Cambria County; 17-Huntingdon Calvary, 6:30 p.m.; 22-at Grace Prep, 5:30 p.m.; 25-Huntingdon Christian; 29-Clymer, 6:30 p.m.
1-at Great Commission; 5-at DuBois; 8-Cambria County; 12-at Huntingdon Calvary.
All games begin at 7 p.m. unless noted.