PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Tigers look to replicate postseason success going into new season
MARSHALL – The Marshall Tigers graduated seven seniors from last year’s team that finished with a 23-3 record and earned third place in the Class AAA state tournament. All seven of those seniors are currently playing a sport at the collegiate level.
The loss of seven seniors that all played a role in the rotation stings, but it’s the nature of high school sports. The 2017-2018 season won’t be a rebuilding year for the Tigers. It will be a year to showcase new talent.
“Last year we had a great group of seniors, with seven seniors being in our rotation each game,” Marshall coach Travis Carroll said. “Each year teams lose kids to graduation. It will be good for our group to get into game situations and learn what we need to do compete each game. This year’s group has been doing a good job of competing each day looking to improve going into the next day.”
Trey Lance is the lone returning starter for the Tigers. Last year as a junior Lance was fourth on the team in scoring. Now as a senior Lance will be asked to do more as a leader.
“We will look for Trey to be a leader on and off the floor for our team this year,” Carroll said. “He does a great job for us on both ends of the floor.”
Fellow senior Jake Hess earned valuable minutes off the bench for the Tigers last season. Coming off the bench Hess averaged 4.4 points per game last year.
“Jake Hess gave us a lot of minutes last year,” Carroll said. “We will look for the same from him on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.”
Of the seven seniors Tigers lost to graduation, four of them were post players and three of them were 6’7 or taller. Those four players gobbled up rebounds for the Tigers last year. This year rebounding will be a group effort for the Tigers.
“Rebounding will be key for us this year,” Carroll said. “We lost some kids who rebounded at a high level last year. It will be important that we have a great group effort on the offensive and defensive ends on the boards. It will be important for us to take care of the ball on the offensive end of the floor.”
If the Tigers are going to be successful this season it will require them to be a balanced team. On defense Carroll said how well they communicate with each other will determine their success. On the offensive side of the court Carroll said his team needs to be aggressive at attacking the rim.
“It will be important for our group to together on the defensive end of the floor and communicate at a high level,” Carroll said. “Offensively, we will need to attack the rim and create opportunities for our teammates.”
The Tigers lost four starters to graduation last year and three key reserves. Out of those seven three of them are currently playing college basketball. Three more of them were playing football this past fall, with two of them playing at the Division I level. The seventh senior played football this fall and will be playing baseball this spring.
Losing that type of athleticism and leadership in one year will sting. Carroll said the key for this year’s team is to focus on improving each day and playing their best basketball at the end of the season.
“We need to work together as a group each day and we need to have a focused effort,” Carroll said. “Each day will be key for our group this year.”