Madison Valley basketball preview

High school hoopsters are lacing up their sneakers up and down the Madison Valley in preparation for the 2012-13 basketball season, and no matter what colors they wear or which squad they play on it’s sure to be an exciting winter in the high school gym.

The Harrison varsity boys’ basketball team looks to be off to a promising start this year, said head coach Jason Roed, with several of last year’s starters returning. While turnovers hurt a young Wildcats squad last year, Roed says the team’s strength this season will be getting the ball to key players like John Brennan and Garrett Petersen down low in the paint. He added that the team will continue to take pride in their defensive prowess.

“This year everybody’s got at least one year under our belt and they’re playing with some confidence now,” said Roed. “So I think that’s definitely going to help us out.”

Harrison’s varsity girls’ squad looks to replace key players who graduated last year with depth and size in the paint and quickness at the point guard position, said head coach Lisa Cooper, who emphasized her team’s ability to dribble and pass the ball to execute their offense.

“The biggest strength would be our quickness in that we run a motion offense, and almost all the players I have on the court at any time can handle the ball,” Cooper said. “I’m pretty confident that we’ll be one of the top teams again in the district.”

Down the road in Ennis, the Mustangs’ varsity girls’ basketball program will look to improve on their shooting skills, said head coach Pokey Armitage. After graduating six seniors last year, the Mustangs will present a young team without much varsity experience, but Armitage says that’s not going to stop them this year.

“Our strength is going to be our defense and just the ability to get along and help out each other,” he said. “Midway through the season, you’re going to see these kids grow in leaps and bounds with confidence.”

Ennis’ varsity boys’ team will rely on size in the paint with juniors Connor Sullivan at 6’4” and Braydon McKitrick at 6’8”. Mustangs’ head coach Zach Jepson is returning three starters from last year, with two more players who came off the bench. Jepson said the Mustangs will try to outrun their opponents by playing at a fast tempo and relying on a deep roster led by seniors Tucker Ott and Dalton Bullock.

“Our quickness on defense with certain lineups is something we need to work on,” said Jepson. “We’ve got to buckle down defensively and make sure we rebound well.”

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