Men’s basketball team finding winning formula

As The men’s basketball team enters mid-season, the 7-2 team has adjusted its strategies to stay on top.

Head coach Ryan Schultz said, “At the beginning of the year, practices are longer, conditioning is a big component, and there is so much to put in place in a very limited amount of time before the games start. In those early days, two to three hours of practice per day with a lot of running and thinking is the norm. By this point in the year, most of the things we do are pretty set, so this is the time of year where we may sprinkle in a few new things to keep things fresh, but it is much more about refinement and building consistency.

“Furthermore, we believe it is very important in a long, physically demanding season to shorten practices and go a little easier on legs when possible. We really put a lot into trying to keep our team both mentally and physically fresh as we move into the middle and latter part of the season. There will be weeks where we are playing three intense games, so it is important for us to be cognizant of that fact and find ways to combat physical and mental fatigue as much as possible.”

Sophomore Jackson Frericks agreed. “It gets a little shorter but just as, or more intense. Our coaches do a great job on keeping us focused in and making sure we keep getting better and better.”

Frericks is a starter and has fought for it. He said, “It feels good. I think it is a great accomplishment. I’ve worked hard for this, and I feel like I deserve it. I put forth my full effort day in and day out.”

This is paying off, as the Tigers are 7-2 overall, 5-1 in the conference. Frericks said that the Tigers are falling into a rhythm as a team, practice after practice. “From the beginning I think we have always had a good groove, but now I think our team is getting more comfortable with each other. Our players have good chemistry, and we can rely on each other do to our jobs. I think we have every opportunity and have the potential to make it to State, yet it will be a tough road. We will have to keep getting better. We have a lot more to get better at. Our team will need to execute every practice, get better each game and we will see how it ends up later in the year.”

There are many emerging leaders and talented boys on the team. Coach Schultz starts with the captains. “Our captains are AJ Green, Ben Gerdes, Isaiah Johnson and Dan Martinson.  They take on a large leadership role for our team.  AJ Green is being highly recruited at the Division I level and continues to prove he is among the top players in the state.  Ben Gerdes has really stepped up his scoring role this year and will be asked to defend physical players.  Isaiah Johnson is another returning starter who brings tremendous energy on defense and is scoring more too. Two sophomores, Jackson Frericks and Logan Wolf, are starting and doing a fantastic job. Both players had double, doubles (double digits in two major categories) in recent conference wins. Furthermore, we are starting to get really good production and energy from our first line of subs. Jack Campbell, Sam Gary, Dan Martinson and Reese Gardner have been playing very well and looking more and more comfortable recently. Our entire team is doing a good job in preparation and seems very committed to their roles and continuing to improve. That is a real positive for our team if that continues to hold true.”

Frericks sees it all coming together too. “Our team is starting to feel like a family. I think our team gets together very well and has a lot of fun together. I love being apart of this team, and I will do everything I can to make us the best we can be.”

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