by Jon Hufnagel
Steve Merkel will lead his charges into the first battle of the season November 27 at the Southride tourney. Heritage Hills is hoping to get off to a good start and improve last year’s record. The three Dubois County teams in the tourney will be as tough as ever, according to Merkel.
Northeast Dubois and Jasper will square off in the first contest at 6 p.m CST.
Northeast Dubois is coached by Merkel high school teammate Alan Matheis. Matheis bring back a big part of last season’s squad. A unit that had a mediocre year, but with a couple of breaks could have a more than respectable season.
Look for the Jeeps to fast break as often as possible, but settle down in a patient half court set when needed. The defense will probably be as tough and stingy as usual. Jasper has liked to get out and run the past few seasons. The line up returns several players with ezperience from the previous year’s winning team. The player to watch appears to be Scott Rolen. Patriot coach Merkel says that, “anytime there’s a Rolen on the floor it spells trouble,” for the other team.
Heritage Hills will face Southridge at 7:30 p.m CST.
Southridge can easily spell trouble for Heritage Hills. Ray Roesner’s team returns some very key players.
Scott Thompson and Jason Schnieders bring bulk, ezperience and height into the front line. Tim Tooley is the experienced ball handler that will set the offense. Though hard-nosed defense can be expected from the Raiders.
After two tough years of rebuilding the Patriot program, Merkel appears to have the potential to give Heritage Hills a winning season. An unspoken confidence can be felt around the Patriot club house.
Players seem to have “gelled” and look to be playing more as a unit. Every player has a role on the floor, and solid performances in those roles will determine the fate of Heritage Hills this season.
While no person on the roster can be a stand out performer without the help of the entire team, Merkel may have to adopt one of Lady Pats coach Stan Jochim’s philosophies. He may have to “through the whole team at them” in order to procure the victories this program is in dire need of.
Merkel could have an ace in the hole. His bench strength is the deepest and strongest it has been in his three years.
The Southridge tourney will continue Saturday, Nov. 28 with the loser of game one meeting the loser of game two at 6 p.m. The winner of game one will face off against the winner of game two at 7:30 p.m.