Buckeyes Hope To Run Past Opposition

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Coming off of a tough loss in the district semifinals last season, the Nelsonville-York boys basketball team looks to rebound and run hard to make an even deeper playoff run in the coming season. In addition to their playoff run, they will look to build on last year’s 12-8 record.

Standing in their way will be the challenges of replacing senior point guard Casey Cox and center Dan Kline. 

“We know we’ve got big shoes to fill,” senior Marc Carter said.

The graduation of head coach Jay Kline’s son, Dan, and the size he provided for the team last season exemplifies the challenges that the team will face.

“We’re not the same team (in terms of size), but we’ve got a lot of quickness…We like to get out and run, and try to play the full court offensively and defensively,” Kline said.

Kline mentioned, however, that the team will need to rebound in order to run the floor. With a smaller lineup, rebounding will likely be the biggest in-game challenge for the Buckeyes. 

“You can’t run as well if you don’t rebound,” he said, “If we can hold our own on the boards we feel like we can get out and run against anybody.”

Kline’s pride in the way his team runs up and down the court is evident.

“We can get after it. We can run. We want teams to play all 84 feet against us,” he said. “If we can do that we feel like we’ve turned the tables in our advantage.”

Kline further addressed the losses the team experienced, and who he is expecting to step up.

“You go through it every year. We lost some really good players, but we’ve got some players to replace that,” he said.

Those players referenced by Kline are seniors Jacob Blake, Clint Handa and Marc Carter.   These three will be who Kline expects to lead the team, especially Handa.

“Handa has stepped up (for us) big time (in the offseason). I expect him to lead us,” he said.

The seniors all mentioned in separate interviews that they have put in a lot of work for the upcoming season.

“Over the summer we all (did) a few shooting camps. That helps us out,” Blake said.  

The consensus from the veterans is that they all worked on their shooting to prepare themselves for this year.  Blake and Handa both mentioned a friendly bet about three-point shooting.

As for preparing for the fast pace the Buckeyes play at, the team must be in top conditioning. All three seniors made it clear that they should have no problem with conditioning, because of their time spent on the gridiron.”

“A lot of us (players) go straight into basketball from football. We’ve got to stay active,” Blake said.

With all the talk of football, Carter, Handa and Blake all spoke for their team, saying that they were most looking forward to their game on the hardwood against Athens.

“They beat us in football the last two years. We’re just going to take the rivalry from football into basketball,” Blake said. “We’re going to show that our basketball program can be as good as our football program.”

Aside from beating Athens, Handa added that the team the team’s goals for the season are to win the Tri-Valley Conference and to make a deeper run into the playoffs than last season. 

Above all, coach Kline said his ultimate goal for the team is to be consistent.

“We want to put together another year as good or better than before.”