Hornets Look To Make Some Noise
Hundred Head Boys’ Basketball Coach Justin Balwanz isn’t a driver ed teacher, but he can certainly tell his team what gear they should use. After falling short in the regional final against St. Marys last season, the Hornets are hungry to get back and are working in high gear to get ready for the season and to get another shot at the state tournament.
Balwanz is fine-tuning his players and will have a Hummer instead of a pickup. He has his cagers working overtime on fundamentals and it looks to be paying off.
Getting all his players moving in the right direction won’t be much of a challenge this season. Not just because they fell a few points short in the regional final, but because all the players are unique and want the same thing.
The Hornets must try to get by without the services of four-year starter Corey Kimble who graduated. However, Hundred returns two of the top rebounders in the county in Emery Smith and Zach Phillips. Smith had 210 boards last year, while Phillips hauled in 140. But, you need to put the ball into the hole if you want to win games and the Hornets have a stock full that can get the job done.
First is point guard Logan McDiffitt leading the charge. He scored 291 points in his junior season and made 166 free throws, while dishing off 116 assists. Defensively, he made 124 steals to lead the county last year.
Besides rebounding, Smith scored 267 points, while Dalton Kuhn made 62 charity stripe baskets and dished off 82 assists.
Others who looks to contribute this season include seniors Jesse Gorby, Jesse Tedrow, and Nathan Kerner. Gorby sat out last season and will add punch to the lineup with the loss of Kimble. Gorby is over 6’4″ and can handle the rock. He runs the floor well and can finish the fast break. He has excellent ball skills and can shoot inside as well as from the perimeter.
Tedrow, although new to the game, is coming around and looks to be an impact player. He, like Gorby, can do a lot of things well. Kerner will most likely come off the bench. He is a little rusty, but with the tutelage of Balwanz and veteran assistant Virgil Wilkins, it won’t take that long for him to contribute.
These three seniors, along with Smith, Phillips, McDiffitt, juniors Tyrell Watson, and brothers Dalton and Shane Kuhn have what it takes to go far. However, when you include sophomores Mitch Moore and Brady Koontz to the mix, the Hornets look like the team to beat in Class A.
Watson was the Hornets’ quarterback this past football season and his leadership will play a big part in the Hornets’ success. He looks to get a lot of playing time and Coach Balwanz believes his leadership and his work ethic will only get better.
The Kuhn boys played an instrumental part in the team’s success last season and should make an even bigger impact this season. Moore and Watson should get some playing time, too, but with the lineup the Hornets have, it will be hard to get a whole bunch. However, Koontz has had a good summer and looks to get a shot to play varsity ball.
Although the varsity team isn’t set in stone, the junior varsity team looks to do quite well. Roger Stalnaker, along with Chris Shackleford and Chris Varner, came off the football team and should be the glue on the reserve team along with sophomore Nick Phillips.
Newcomers Rusty Morris and Kirk Shriver finish the team.
Hundred has a few team goals, like becoming leaders of the school; being positive witness in the community; being the hardest working team in the state; and to specialize in playing great defense. They want to hold their opponents to 12 or fewer points a quarter; average 65 points per game; shoot 70 percent or better from the line; commit less than 10 turnovers a game; win the sectionals; win the region; and win the state championship.
These are lofty goals, but if the boys will listen and stay focused on their coaching instructions, they can have a team with size, depth, and skills. They have shooters, shot blockers, and players that will defend, also. When you can do that and have one of the best young coaches in Balwanz, it only means success.
Hundred opens up the season with Jefferson County Christian at 2 p.m. on Dec. 12 and will host West Greene on Dec. 15, with the junior varsity game getting under way at 6 p.m.