HAWLEY — Friday, Nov. 16 marked the first official day of practice for Wallenpaupack Area's boys varsity basketball team.
The Buckhorns are working hard for the upcoming season. Aside from the Senior Trip and a snow day, the boys have been hitting the hardwood almost daily.
On the Court
Hoping to improve on their overall 8-15 record from last year, Coach Rich McGinnis has been focused on developing offensive skills and consistency among his players. The Bucks managed just two wins in the Lackawanna League season as Division One was rugged, as usual.
"We had good defense last season," Coach McGinnis said. "We just struggled offensively. Jake Brown supplied much of our offense last year and gave us a lot of points, so we're hoping to develop some more players that can bring in some points."
Brown is one of the most feared scorers in the entire Lackawanna League. He's been a fixture in Paupack's varsity line-up since his freshman year.
Jake is that rarest of players: a point guard who can score from anywhere on the floor. He breaks defenders down off the dribble, runs the court in transition and spots up to hit the occasional trey.
Shooting skills have been a big part of the Bucks' practice sessions so far and Coach McGinnis has noted improvement day-by-day among the squad members.
"Consistency is another thing we're focused on this season," he said. "Staying focused on the goals and keeping our heads in the game is something else we've been stressing as well."
Practices are a good mix of conditioning, skill building, running plays, and scrimmage.
With the JV and varsity teams interacting throughout the sessions, it's hard to tell who belongs to which squads unless they do breakouts, and this early in the season, the rosters aren't carved into stone either.
Coach McGinnis did point out seniors Jake Brown and Nico Tereshack will be starting for the varsity squad and notes junior Anthony Bouselli and sophomores TJ Root and John Steffen are persons-of-interest.
Page 2 of 2 - Additionally, senior guards Eric Miller and Tyler Brexel, along with Junior Jamel Blanding, look good to be shoring up the Buckhorns' backcourt.
Freshman Brad Bieski appeared strong during scrimmage time and most likely will play prominently on the JV squad.
On the Horizon
The Buckhorns will tip off the season with the 15th Annual Rotary Tournament.
This year's edition of the event will take place the weekend of December 7-8 at the Wallenpaupack Area High School gymnasium.
The Bucks will then make the trip to Dingmans Ferry where they'll face the Timberwolves of East Stroudsburg North in the first game of the regular season on December 12.
Coach McGinnis knows the Buckhorns are in for a long season. Mentally he says staying focused on the moment is important.
"We can't get stuck or become complacent whether we are doing well or not," he said. "We will take each game as they come."