CURWENSVILLE – Head coach Shane Pentz is hoping the ‘third time is the charm’ for his 2013-14 Curwensville Area High School boys basketball squad.
After a 6-16 record for the 2012-13 campaign in Pentz’s second year the Tide mentor is banking on a team that returns eight letterman, including all five starters.
Six of the eight returning lettermen are seniors Tanner Elensky, Brett Gardner, Kyle Johns, Austin Jacobson, Alex Olson and Nate Kurtz. The other two are both juniors in Trey Rauckhorst and Harrison Bloom.
Pentz spoke first about last year’s team, “We went 6-16 last year but we were really close to having a dramatically different record. In 11 of our losses, we were either winning or within one possession with four minutes left in the 4th quarter. One of the things we are focusing on is going over situations so we can be a better team down the stretch of games.”
The roster is big this season and the Tide coach commented on the number of players, “With 23 players on the roster, we are still in the process of figuring out our rotation. In a close game, 8-10 guys typically play. One of the things we have seen thus far is that it looks like we can be 2 deep at each position and not have much of a drop off. We are going to need our players to buy in to the fact that playing time will be determined by how they are practicing, not just how much experience they have or what grade they are in. We need to the best players to play regardless of age. There’s an old basketball adage that says coaches don’t determine playing time, the players do.”
Pentz feels the first eight players are going to get first crack at finding much of the varsity playing time, “I would say that right now we have 6 guys vying for 5 starting spots. Tanner (Elensky), Brett (Gardner), Alex (Olson), Kyle (Johns), Austin (Jacobson) and Trey (Rauckhorst) are all in that mix right now. It could depend on the team we are playing as well as what we feel our advantage may be on a given night as to who starts. We can throw out a bigger lineup or a more guard oriented lineup depending on the opponent.
“We also return letterman in Nate (Kurtz) and Harrison (Bloom) that have shown some good things in practice.”
Then Pentz added, “We also have some sophomores that appear ready to help us who experienced a strong year at the junior high level last season. And our junior class also has some more height with Jonathan (Miller) and ball handling with Alex (Hill) and Dylan (Davis).”
Talking about the challenges ahead Pentz said, “We have another extremely challenging schedule as the AML (Allegany Mountain League) will continue to be very strong and I believe that the Moshannon Valley League will be more balanced from top to bottom than it has been recently. We also play Clearfield twice again this year and they will be an improved team as well.”
The Tide head coach closed with, “We feel like we have a really good chance to return to the playoffs this year. We have more experience than we have had in a while, and the boys have been going really hard at each other every day in practice. It will really come down to how well we play those 32 minutes of each game. Last year we were right there with almost everyone for 28 minutes, now we have to finish.”
The Golden Tide open the season with a home battle against the Black Knights of Moshannon Valley on Friday night at Patton Hall with the junior varsity game starting at 6 pm and the varsity to immediately follow. Listen to Curwensville boys basketball this Friday on WOKW-FM, 102.9, with the pre-game at approximately 7:15 pm.
SENIORS: *Tanner Elensky, *Brett Gardner, *Kyle Johns, *Austin Jacobson, *Alex Olson, *Nate Kurtz, Jason Thorp, Josh Shaffer and Bryce McClure
JUNORS: *Trey Rauckhorst, *Harrison Bloom, Alex Hill, Jonathan Miller, Dylan Davis
SOPHOMORES: Jake Terry, Noah Strickland, RJ Olson, Kesean Newkirk, Quamone Newkirk, Jarod Bakaysa, Ian Barrett, Curtis Linsenbigler and Seth Sloppy
* DENOTES LETTER WINNERS
DECEMBER – 6 MOSHANNON VALLEY, 9 at Clearfield, 13 at Ridgway, 16 WEST BRANCH,
19 at Harmony, 20 at Kane
JANUARY – 3 DUBOIS CENTRAL CATHOLIC, 8 at Moshannon Valley, 14 at Elk County Catholic,
16 at Glendale, 21 RIDGWAY, 24 at Brockway, 27 at DuBois Central Catholic, 29 GLENDALE,
FEBRUARY – 4 at Sheffield, 5 ST. JOE’S ACADEMY, 7 KANE, 10 HARMONY, 12 at West Branch, 14 CLEARFIELD
HOME GAMES IN CAPS. ALL JUNIOR VARSITY (JV) GAMES START AT 6 PM UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED. VARSITY CONTESTS START 15 MINUTES AFTER THE JV GAME.