BY RICK WRIGHT –
“I think we’re going to be very, very competitive,” said Cossatot River Eagle Head Basketball Coach Wendell Cartwright. “I think we’ve improved over last year, just simply because it’s their second year doing the same things. We are already there offensively with what we are trying to get across to them. We’re already better defensively for the same reasons, they understand our basic concepts and are able to move on past some of the basic things we’re trying to get done.
“We’re going to be guard oriented,” said Cartwright. “We’re a very skilled team. We shoot the ball well and handle the ball well. Cody Baker is really doing a good job playing within the flow, taking what’s given to him. Our guards are good enough that they force you to help, so we can kick it out to Baker. Everything we do, as far as continuity wise, is based off dribble penetration. We run several set plays, but our basic foundation is off dribble penetration.”
“We are getting a lot better at reading when to kick, when to come around, when to fake just because of having done it more,” said Cartwright. “Just seeing the floor better and understanding what’s available and what’s not.”
“Another thing we are going to be improved at is that we are going to be better around the basket with our post guys,” said Cartwright. “Cody Brown and Kelan Youngblood are getting a lot more confident around the basket. We’re probably not going to run anything and say just post up and feed it to them like the back to the basket kind of guy, but those guys are being more aggressive so that when we do penetrate and their defender tries to help we can kick it to them, they are being real aggressive to the basket and it’s making people play us more honest.”
“We’ve got plenty of guards,” said Cartwright. “Our problem last year, as far as blocking out and keeping people off the boards, is we would block and because we’re small, the rebound gets tipped and it’s not the first guy that’s beating us, it’s the second or third guy grabbing the tipped rebound. We are concentrating on that more and I think we’re getting a little better at that.”
“We did a pretty good job at transition and a pretty good job guarding the post last year,” said Cartwright. “Which was something I thought was going to be an issue, because we are so little, but we just fought, battled and scrapped. We didn’t give up a whole lot in the post unless it was off second and third shots. Holding our blockouts until we have possession is going to be a big key. Keeping people off the boards is very difficult, it’s as much about having a desire to rebound as anything else.”
“This bunch is really fun to coach,” said Cartwright. “We’ve got a sophomore guard who is having to play everyday against someone like Marco Ramirez, that should make him better.”
“I really enjoy this bunch of boys, they are a good group of kids, they work hard, their attitudes are good, and they’re a little bit goofy as far as just being silly goofy teenage boys,” laughed Cartwright.
The Cossatot River Eagles open with Sparkman on the 25th.