Depth is key component in success for Pacer basketball team

7

This year’s Switzerland County boys varsity basketball team returns eight members from last year’s squad — but the key to a successful season this year doesn’t come from returnees, but rather from the depth that those players bring.

“We’ve got five starters back and seven guys who played significant minutes for us,” Coach Todd said. “But Southwestern, Shawe, and Milan all have five starters back, too; and Madison’s got four starters back. A lot of teams return a lot of starters, but were I think we will have an advantage is that we will have experienced depth behind our starters.”

This year’s seniors include: Mat Deaton, Zach Getz, Ben Hickman, Michael Otter, Cody Peters, B.J. Shelton, and Josh Snow. Juniors include: Cliff Meyer, Aaron Moore, T. J. Sefton, Jordan Pavy and Travis Webster; and freshman Kyle Green rounds out the squad.

Because of the number of seniors, some of the underclassmen will also see junior varsity action.

At least seven of the players bring experience of at least 10 minutes per game back this year; and senior Zach Getz has been having an outstanding preseason, according to the coaching staff, and saw extensive jayvee minutes last year.

For all of the positives, one big negative hangs over Switzerland County less than a week before the season tips off at Shawe next Tuesday.

Senior Cody Peters, who started at guard in every game last season, tore his ACL in preseason practice and is lost for the season.

“I really hate it for Cody,” Coach Todd said. “His injury upsets me as much as all of our returning players pleases me. He was a big part of our plans this season.”

As much as the loss of Cody Peters hurts the team’s guard play, the coaching staff feels that it will give the team a chance to move senior Josh Snow out onto the perimeter more, creating a rotation inside with Mat Deaton, B.J. Shelton, and Ben Hickman. Josh Snow playing on the outside will also create matchup headaches for opposing coaches; and the depth will give the staff the flexibility to bring in certain players to meet certain situations.

The Pacers do return a trio of starters — Chancey May (9.7), Mat Deaton (9.3), and B.J. Shelton (8.9) — who averaged nine points a game; and that should give opponents fits when trying to figure out where to focus their defense.

“We don’t have that one, big scorer,” David Todd said. “But scoring won’t be as big a problem as it was last year. I think this is going to be a team that is very unselfish and will be hard to defend. Our players know that the most important thing is for the team to be successful.”

The Pacer coach said that most of the team’s offensive scheme is aimed at a team concept; and that will mean a lot of players who won’t be afraid to take a key shot when it’s needed. With the offense coming from five different directions, teams won’t be able to key on anyone.

The eight seniors on the team will also provide this year’s Pacer team with leadership, and the coaching staff feels that all of that leadership will pay off at key times during the season.

When he looks at this year’s ORVC, David Todd says that most schools are pointing at Southwestern and Shawe — but people thinking that everyone else is out of contention will be surprised.

“I really believe that our conference is going to be awfully good this year,” Coach Todd said. “I think every team in our league feels like it has a shot at the conference championship. Things are going to be very competitive, and it will be interesting to see how things play out.”

Switzerland County kicks off this year’s season this Tuesday night with a game at Madison Shawe; and then travels to Trinity Lutheran in Seymour on December 2nd. The Pacers get to open their home on Saturday, December 3rd, when Jennings County comes to Vevay.

This year’s schedule is similar to last year’s; with the exception of Charlestown leaving the schedule while Columbus East returns to the slate, coming to Vevay for a game on December 30th.

“Overall, we’re pretty excited about the season,” Coach Todd said.