Boys Basketball looks to reload after historic 2016-17 season
New faces, Same goal
Rahul Parikh | Staff Writer
The Mason boys basketball team has big shoes to fill. In 2016-17, led by one of the most successful senior classes in program history, the Comets earned their first District championship since 1994 and finished 21-3.
The only returning starter is senior Tanner Knue. As a junior, Knue averaged 9.6 points, and shot 40% from the field. Knue knows he will be a focal point for the program this season.
“There is lots of inexperience on our team this year,” Knue said. “Me and Noah have to step up as leaders, being the seniors in the locker room.”
Knue wants to be much more than a one dimensional player.
“I’m putting pressure on myself to get everyone involved, and be a leader defensively,” Knue said. “I want to be the best defender in the Greater Miami conconference (GMC) throughout the year, and I hope to do it all, not just score.”
Senior Noah Pedelty is the only other returning player that appeared in all 24 games in ‘16-17. While averaging 8.7 points per game as a junior, Pedelty was in more of a supplementary role, but knows he has to take a leadership role to be successful this year.
“Coach has been telling Tanner and I to be a lot more vocal this year, which I’ve been doing,” Pedelty said. “It’s a big deal to me to be able to help out the guys who haven’t stepped into a varsity game yet, and get them into a groove.”
Pedelty is prepared to step into a more vocal leadership role.
“I feel like I have been stepping my game up through AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) before this year started, and a lot of other guys such as Landen and Ethan have been great as well,” Pedelty said. “Losing those seniors obviously hurts a lot, but this year we have great potential, and everyone on the court can score at all times.”
Assistant coach Kyle Peters said that he believes the team has the capability to effectively replace the strong senior class of last year and should be able to compete and win games.
“We fully expect these guys to compete for a GMC and a district championship this year,” Peter said. “Like Coach Richards always says, it’s not like we lose guys year in and year out, we just reload.”
Peters said Knue and Pedelty have stepped up as leaders early on.
“I feel like they are doing a great job on the floor,” Peters said. “Not just scoring, but doing all the little things to help the younger guys out.”
A key to success this season for the Comets will be how new members of the team can mesh with returnees. Junior guard Ethan Howard is a new addition to the varsity squad who will look to make an immediate impact. Howard said the keys to replacing the maturity and discipline of last years team are doing the little things to help the team out.
“I think if us new guys do the small things to help out, we can make a big difference.” Howard said. “Whether it’s grabbing a rebound, getting a steal, knocking down a shot, or anything else, if we can get that done I feel like we have a great chance to win games.”
Howard believes that the senior class will be able to lead a young team through their grueling GMC schedule.
“These seniors are great leaders and role models, and they will help us throughout the year in continuing to improve as a team,” Howard said. “Hopefully we can achieve our goal of reaching the District finals and maybe even a State championship.”