Seniors Jacob Pike and Trevor Halloran are the only returners from the 2019-20 team that made it to the 1A regional tournament. Through 10 games, Halloran leads the 1A state in 3-point shooting after sinking four in a 21-point effort against Coral Academy. He also had 12 rebounds for a double-double. Pike’s presence in the key led to 14 points and eight rebounds.
“They have accepted that role very well and I have seen their leadership during games and practices as they help the younger and inexperienced players learn our system,” Schank said of his trio. “For us to be successful, they will need to accept that role of really (being) an assistant coach to me.”
New to the team are Casamaro White, Aaron Housel, Fenn Mackedon, Elijah Matter, Westin Booker and Tyler Siebecker. Mackedon, a freshman, has become a consistent contributor after pulling down eight rebounds to go with a pair of 3-pointers.
“Coming back after a lost season and working through all the precautions of this new normal will be challenging,” Schank said. “I’m extremely grateful for the kids that have dedicated themselves to our program and the new ones that have joined us and hope that we can all stay safe and healthy and compete in and complete our 21-game season.”
It’s no secret that Schank’s goals for the season are to get his team back to the playoffs. He wants the Bighorns to go a step further and advance to the state championship.
“In order to do that, we need to consistently build our program by improving player skills, having a better knowledge of the game and figuring out how to retain players coming up from our development teams,” Schank said.
And it starts with the small senior class.
“I believe our team’s strength lies in the leadership of our three returning seniors,” Schank added. “Their knowledge of the game is like having three additional assistant coaches. I also believe that our outside shooting, if consistent, can be a strength. Two of my seniors have worked really hard since eighth grade to develop their scoring skills and it has shown in the games we have played so far.”
While the offense has the potential to torch the opposition from long range, Schank said the defense is another story. The newcomers’ lack of in-game experience will initially be a weakness cured by time as the Bighorns enter 1A play in January.
“Learning the concept of five guys guarding the ball, transitioning from offense to defense and playing at a faster pace takes a while to teach when most of the group I have this year have never played the game,” Schank said.