BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
The Wolves are excited to begin the winter season against Utica Eisenhower at the Dan Fife Fieldhouse this Friday.
“We are excited to get things rolling,” said Tim Wasilk, head coach for Clarkston Boys Varsity Basketball. “We have some experience back this year compared to last year. You can tell it’s been easier as far as putting plays in and defense. We are looking forward to it.”
The Wolves tested their skills when they held their annual Thanksgiving scrimmage hosting Detroit Douglass, Flint Powers and Troy, Nov. 29.
“We played really well,” said Wasilk.
They had a scrimmage at Williamston last Wednesday, Dec. 4.
“It was really good for our kids,” said Wasilk, adding Williamston is a good team. “We beat them by 11, but we played okay at times. It was up and down. It was a really good scrimmage for us as far as what Williamson does defensively and how they play basketball on the offensive end.”
The biggest goal for the team this year is working on the little things.
“We are more so worried about us,” Wasilk said getting ready for the first two games of the season. “Making sure we are playing hard, talking on both ends of the floor, boxing out, communicating – all the little things that will win or lose games during the season. The rest will take care of itself. We would like to go further than we did last year. Everybody wants the ultimate prize at the end, and that would be awesome, but it all starts at practice and taking care of little things.”
The Wolves finished last season with a 17-3 record, ending the season in the first round of district playoffs against Rochester Adams, 38-37.
“We had a great season and our season ended too early,” Wasilk said. “I think everyone felt that – players, fans, coaches. It was a situation where it was a team we could have beat, but we got beat. They played better than us, out toughed us and beat us. We can learn from it and I think we have. The kids are pretty focused and pretty dialed in to get better and get better as a team.”
He added the returners have a year under their belt and understand what they need to do especially when it comes to preparing for games.
“Now this year they are just playing,” Wasilk said. “You don’t have to think so much – that has been a big thing for our returners. Last year they did a lot of thinking and learning.”
He added the new players are good guards coming up from JV.
“It takes time for them to learn our system up here, learn our plays,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of height in our program after Matt Nicholson, at 7-foot-1. We have Luke Scherler, who is 6’8”. Luke has been doing a great job going against Matt every day. We are pretty small right now. I am not complaining, we do have a 7-foot-1 guy.”
Wasilk added all of the players worked hard during the off season which included doing open gyms, doing hot yoga and being in the weight room.
“It may not look like it by looking at us but they have been conditioning pretty hard,” Wasilk said. “They did a lot in the off season to help them prepare for the season.”
The Wolves open the season with juniors Connor McKouen and Blake Kosin out with injuries.
McKouen, a shooting guard, is out for the season. Kosin has a knee injury and could be back within the next month. As of last Friday, sophomore Mike DePillo was out with mono.
“We are a little banged up right now,” Wasilk said. “We have some new and younger guys who will have an opportunity to step in and play.”
Wasilk added the coaching staff has been great. Assistant Coach Doug Colling is back and Assistant Coach Julius Porter moves up after coaching JV. A familiar face to players and fans is Dan Fife stepping into his role as an assistant coach.
“Coach Fife will be helping us out at practices, with McGrath League and summer camps,” Wasilk said. “He enjoys it and we enjoy having him around. He speaks and the kids listen.”
JV hosts Utica Eisenhower at Clarkston High School on Friday, 5:30 p.m., varsity follows.