Manchester boys basketball team peaking at right time
NEW FRANKLIN — Manchester High School boys basketball head coach Gene Schindewolf said he really likes the effort he is seeing from his players this late in the season.
“The kids are practicing as hard now — if not harder — as they did at the beginning of the season, and that’s a plus,” he stated. “That’s a credit to the guys. They really want to win.”
Schindewolf said he feels like Manchester is a team that “can make some noise” in the playoffs.
“We really do,” he said. “We like our tournament draw. We’re seeded No. 2 over at Salem and we got a bye in the first round.”
On March 1 at 7:30 p.m., Manchester will play the winner of Columbiana and Lisbon David Anderson at Salem High School.
“At the end of the season, if you’re playing the right way — and I think we are — then you can make a tournament run,” he said. “We definitely can make some noise over there.”
According to Schindewolf, the strengths of this year’s team have been “team chemistry and leadership of our seniors.” The coach said this year’s seniors — Bryan Daily, Jamar Dukes, Mark Terry, Nick Jordan, Chad Robertson, Daulton Baksa and Nick Peyakov — have had solid seasons for the team.
“Our seniors have been our leaders,” he said. “Each senior brings qualities to our team that have helped us get to 12 wins on the season. Some have been rebounders, other scorers, others have been a help off the bench. Each senior has been a big help for us this season.”
In addition, Schindewolf said, juniors Aaron Hoxworth, Kanyon Collins and Austin Klein have “all played key roles at different times” in the team’s success this season.
“We have had some surprises from our three juniors in terms of their improvement,” he said. “We just need them to give the same effort each night and not get too down on themselves if their playing time isn’t that much or if they are struggling with shots falling or on the defensive end, etc.”
Schindewolf said the team has dealt with injuries this season, but now that the players are getting healthy, they are starting to play with more consistency.
“We have been kind of a roller coaster,” he said. “At times, we show some improvement and then take a step back in one area while another area improves, and it seems to have been that way for most of the season. There are some areas we have improved in and hope to continue to get consistency in other areas. … Consistency will come when we get our full squad together. It’s tough when you’re missing key people from your starting lineup and then that changes your rotation.”
Through Feb. 11, the team’s overall record was 12-7, including an 8-4 mark in league play. Schindewolf said this team’s goal is to “finish third in the league and make a long tournament run.”
“[Coming into the season], we thought we could win the league, but injuries and some inconsistencies have dropped us out of the league race. But we are pretty close to where we thought we might be this season.” he said. “Records don’t mean much to me. The important thing is making sure the kids are playing at the level they should, and I think we are. I think we will finish out strong.”
In the team’s final three regular season games, Schindewolf said he wants to see his team get better at limiting turnovers.
“That is one of our up and down areas. We also need to get healthy and get better on the defensive end of the floor. We’re just trying to tighten some things up defensively. We’re also trying to put a couple of different wrinkles in offensively,” he stated. “We just want to finish on a strong note. We want to finish 3-0 and carry that momentum on into the tournament, which we definitely are capable of doing.”
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