Basketball Preview: With five seniors back, Eagles hope to get further
Coming in as an excitable new head coach at North Collins last season, Rob Catalino believes he may have put a little too much pressure on his players to perform right away.
Catalino said while most responded favorably during a 7-2 start to the season, he saw a tail off toward the end as the schedule got tougher. He’ll change his approach in accepting the early mistakes while working to correct them. He hopes that helps his team to peak later in the season.
“We’ll move on from the early mistakes and not make as big of a deal about them,” said Catalino, whose team ended the year 10-9 after a lopsided loss to Clymer in the Class D quarterfinal round. “Our goal is to peak at the end of the year and not halfway through. It’s such a long four-month season that you have to have some fun and you can’t get too high or too low.”
In Catalino’s favor is that five seniors, who learned his system, return to play big roles. By four or five games into the season, he thinks that experience will have this group rolling.
“We’ve got a core that knows what it’s doing; it’s just a matter of tweaking it the next couple of weeks,’ Catalino noted.
Jared Keppel leads this senior group after posting a whopping 23 points per game average and 10 rebounds a contest. The 6-foot-2 three-year starting power forward finished second in Western New York in scoring and as a result, should attract plenty of attention from opponents.
“Every team is going to try to take Jared away this year — he’ll get doubled and triple teamed,” Catalino said. “The other guys have to make some shots to open it up for him.”
Keppel has a strong cast beside him as fellow seniors Todd Youngman and Jared Bauerlein return to starting roles and twin brothers, Jordan and Jaden Keough, expect to contribute after upping their game in the offseason.
Youngman, who was a division honorable mention last year, will provide hard-nosed play and solid defense moving to the point for 2012 graduate Kyle Sherman. Jared Bauerlein should be the team’s second best scorer. Jordan and Jaden Keough worked on their perimeter games over the summer in the Hamburg Recreation League.
“If they can handle the ball and score some points, we’ll do pretty well,” Catalino noted.
The Eagles do not have much size, so they’ll rely on senior newcomer Hawk Horschel, a 6-foot-2 forward, and 6-foot-1 junior David Fera for some physicality up front and to take some pressure off of Keppel.
North Collins fell one win short of hosting a quarterfinal game. Catalino is hoping to get one of the top four seeds in Class D to set a path to the semifinals, which has been rare feat for an Eagles’ team. The Eagles finished behind Brocton, Clymer, Sherman and Panama in CCAA IV but played right with most of those teams.
“I expect to compete for the division and have a chance to get to the semifinals or farther in sectionals,” Catalino noted.
North Collins boys 2012-13 schedule
Mon., Dec. 3 vs Forestville 7:30 pm
Wed., Dec. 5 at Gowanda 7:30 pm
Mon., Dec. 10 at Forestville 7:30 pm
Wed., Dec. 12 vs Gowanda 7:30 pm
Fri., Dec. 14 at West Valley 7:30 pm
Mon, Dec. 17 vs West Valley 7:30 pm
Fri., Dec. 21 at Ripley 7:30 pm
Fri., Dec. 28 vs Lake Shore 7:30 pm
Thur., Jan. 3 at Brocton 7:30 pm
Mon., Jan. 7 vs Ellicottville 7:30 pm
Thur., Jan. 10 at Sherman 7:30 pm
Mon., Jan. 14 at Christian Central 7:30 pm
Thur., Jan. 17 vs Clymer 7:30 pm
Tues., Jan. 29 vs Ripley 7:30 pm
Fri., Feb. 1 vs Brocton 7:30 pm
Tues., Feb. 5 at Ellicottville 7:30 pm
Fri., Feb. 8 vs Sherman 7:30 pm
Thur., Feb. 14 at Clymer 7:30 pm