Preble Shawnee the little big school
J. C. Tilton
This season Preble Shawnee is playing in the “big school” division of the SWBL. However, the school has dropped to Division 3 this year and is probably the smallest school playing in the big school division of the SWBL with the possible exception of Oakwood. Coach Roger Ellis feels that this is a challenge for his team, but knows that this will “help at tournament time.” Going against the bigger competition night after night will toughen the team up for post season play. Additionally one of the team goals, as it always has been, is still to win league.
To prepare for this winter's campaign, the team had an aggressive off season schedule. They did some weightlifting and conditioning. The players attended the University of Cincinnati team camp, Miami Un. shootout and the Wittenberg shootout. The team also played in two summer leagues, one in Franklin and one in Centerville. Finally, the teams reserve players were in a Middletown Summer League. Coach Ellis noted that, “The kids worked hard in the off season and put themselves in a position to be competitive [this season].”
One of the strengths of this years team is it's varsity experience. The Arrows lost 3 players to graduation, meaning that 7 experienced players are coming back. The entire back court is back: 5' 9” Benji Hughes, 5' 11” Bart Clapper - 3 year starter, and 6' 2” Derrick Bailly. Clapper has accumulated 83 baskets in his career from behind the 3 point line and is expected to break the school record for 3 pointers this season. 6' 2” Timmy Moore will be a force in the post. When asked what the team need to improve upon before the start of the season, Coach Ellis replied that, “6 of these players will have to figure out what we are doing.” He went on to explain that the varsity team runs more plays and more complex plays than the reserve. Also they need to adjust to the quickness and aggressiveness of play at the varsity level. So it is going to take some effort for the new varsity players to know all the plays and all the new things it takes to be a player at this new level.
When asked about team goals, Coach Ellis replied that the team had season goals as well as daily goals for each game. Over the season the team wants to win their division of the SWBL, win the Preble Shawnee holiday tournament, win 15 games, and win all of their home games. Defensively, the team wants to give up less than 12 points per quarter, “be the best defensive team in the SWBL”, and “hold people to the low 50's for the game.” Last season the Arrows had a good defensive season, giving up an average of 52 points a game. They hope to continue that trend into this winter. Keys for the Arrows: The team seems to have a lot of balance. Good ball handlers, shooters, and some height at the post. The team also has some depth. So their starters can get a breather without losing much on the floor. The wings have proven that they can score, but the inside game will need to be solid as well. The post players will need to establish themselves and contribute points. If the Arrows can be strong both in the paint and from the wings, they will be a hard team to stop. So establishing and maintaining this balance will be a key to the teams success.