By Lindsey Mattern, Daily Apache Editor
After two weeks of practice, the Wabash boys basketball team will have a scrimmage at home tonight against Wawasee that will kick off their 2019-2020 season. The boys had a memorable season last winter; their team went 16-4, winning the last six games in the regular season. To add to that success, they also won county, TRC, and sectional titles. That was the first year since 1967 that the Wabash Apaches boys basketball team made it to regionals. Reflecting over last season, junior Joe Leland stated, “We had a lot of accomplishments for both JV and Varsity. Although we would’ve liked to go further, it was a very special and memorable season.”
Although Coach Wright acknowledged the contributions of last year’s seniors, he hopes for an equally successful season with this year’s team: “Blake Gribben and Logan Vander Veldon were great leaders, especially during practice,” Wright said. “That will be a role for the seven seniors to take on.” When it comes to games, Wright explained that “[Not having Logan is] a big defense loss. Logan guarded the best player on the court. Blake did little things like grab rebounds, so we will need players to step into those positions.” Coach Wright also complimented the boys who will be returning this year on how hard they worked over the summer and is excited to see how that hard work will play out during games.
Wright is expecting this season’s challenge to be trying to sustain what they did last year. “We have pressure to perform this year,” Coach Wright stated. “If other teams beat us, that is going to be a good [win] for them, which hasn’t been a factor in the past.” The boys basketball team saw this challenge in January last season and plans to work to overcome it during practice throughout the season.
As a leader of the team, senior Trenton Daughtry plans to encourage his team members by “remind[ing] them everything [they] have done is in the past, whether it was last season or just the last game.” What he will miss most about playing high school basketball is the family chemistry of the team: “This team is special to me,” Daughtry reflected. “We are best friends from top to bottom. [The boys are] super fun to play with day in and day out. [We] keep each other accountable on and off the court and that is special to me.”
For upcoming players, or players who want their playing time to increase, Coach Wright provided some advice: “I don’t care about the amount of points you put up. The effort you put in is key, working hard on defense and showing that you want to be there. If you work hard in practice, good things will come in a game.”
The starting line-up for tonight’s scrimmage will be seniors Trenton Daughtry, Dereck Vogel, Elijah Vander Veldon, and Jared Holley, and junior Jasper Walter. Next week, the Apaches will face Oak Hill on Wednesday, November 27 in the first official game of the season.