Lumberjacks Return Bulk Of Their Lineup
The Valley Lumberjacks return the bulk of their lineup from last year, with another successful season looming in their minds.
Matt Poling and Dustin Bickerstaff each graduated last year, but returning are seven players who saw a great deal of court time.
Valley Head Coach John Kocher and Assistant Coach Leslie Lively think their players are channeled in the right direction. “We like to run if we can. Our kids, including our big men, can run the floor,” said Kocher.
He also believes that their ball handling skills are pretty good and he thinks he can develop an inside game, as well as strategies from the perimeter.
The ‘Jacks normally play a man-to-man and zone defense. Kocher says the opponents will dictate the defense and he is spending more time on defense than he has in the past. Also, look to see the ‘Jacks run in transition and take better care of the ball than they have in the past.
The ‘Jacks’ Ronald Morris and Alex Henderson stepped up and had outstanding seasons the last couple years. The ‘Jacks like an up-tempo game and can get down and shuffle their feet and play good old-fashioned defense when they have to. Look no farther than seniors Jeremiah Burch, Scott Anderson, and Garrett and Clay Ueltschy, to lead the way in this department. They know that shuffling their feet and playing that defense help build championship seasons.
Others who have contributed in the past and will try to keep Kocher from pulling anymore of his hair out are Cameron Price, Drew Wade, Nolan Brody, and Hunter Wade. Out for the first time is senior Davie Sivert, 6’3 and 240 pounds. He should really help on the boards and should be able to give the Ueltschy boys a breather inside. Also, you can throw in Kody Jenkins, a transfer student from Texas, who did about everything for the ‘Jacks in football.
The Lumberjacks have the size and speed and have a lot of depth to go along with a solid group of seniors to build with. “The upperclassmen are working hard and the younger kids are seeing that,” said Kocher.
However, the ‘Jacks don’t have that many younger players.
The bulk of the team is built on eight seniors. After getting hurt before football season started, Henderson hurt his knee and it looked like he was going to miss the entire season, but he worked hard on rehabilitating his knee and is ready to help move the Lumberjacks in the right direction. He averaged 15 points a game last season.
Also returning to the starting lineup is Morris. He was second on the team with 14 points a game. Plus, when you add Clay Ueltschy to the lineup with Morris and Henderson, you have three players who can carry a team in scoring on any night. Clay Ueltschy tallied 11 points a game and pulled down close to 10 boards a game.
The rest of the lineup should include, Garrett Ueltschy, Burch, and Anderson. But, you may see either Price, Jenkins, or Sivert in the starting lineup, too.
With this many seniors at your disposal, Kocher must be licking his chops.
Playing on the junior varsity squad is Thomas West, Jordan Anderson, Hunter Ring, Tanner Smith, Cody Bates, Tyler Hayes, Tristen Kocher, Brady Nolan, Troy Hubbard, Daniel Brewer, and Dakota Campbell.
The coaching staff is pleased with the work ethic of the boys to this point and feel that they have a good solid group of players with outstanding team speed who can shoot from the outside as well as pound it inside.
“I think we have great fans at Valley and I believe that we must play well enough to keep our fans to wanting to come out and watch the boys play,” added Kocher.
“This season we want to play a better team defense and we hope that we can do a better job boxing out around the net. We just want to get better each game and be ready to rock and roll come tournament time.”