Midland High is not usually known for its basketball success. So when the varsity basketball team found themselves competing in a regional semi-final game last year against Saginaw High, many students and community members were surprised. The team was not.
This year the team has similar plans. When asked about expectations for his senior season, returning varsity center Austen Irrer flatly stated, “Win another district title and hopefully compete for a regional title against Saginaw.”
Those may be large goals for a relatively young team, but they are coming into the season well practiced. Over the summer the team played 27 games together, taking advantage of every minute on the floor together as they became more accustomed to each other’s playing style and gained cohesiveness.
Irrer believes that the greatest opportunity the team had to better themselves was when they competed in Fort Wayne, Indiana for the American Youth Basketball Tour (AYBT) national tournament. The team performed well going 5-2 against travel teams from around the country. Aside from benefitting the players, this gives varsity boy’s basketball coach Eric Krause a chance to get a better feel for his team.
Watching his team in these games allowed Krause to further evaluate his players and gain insight on what each player’s role will be when the actual season comes around.
“A lot of people can look good in practice,” Krause said. “[Seeing them in games] helps me determine which players will play well against higher level competition.”
Krause is excited for his team this year.
“We are definitely more experienced than people think,” Krause said referring to Irrer who started in many games last year, and senior point guard Will Williams who has been on varsity for three seasons.
Many returners have improved over a whole year of varsity practice last year and are now poised to let it pay off on the court.
Along with the veterans, the newcomers are also eager to contribute. Krause expects the that will be at a much higher level than they were in the summer, and Williams is excited to see what they can do.
“My role is going to be the same as it always is, just trying to help my teammates get better,” Williams said.
The team is ready to play a fast-paced style of basketball, led by Williams. Krause noted the team’s size and ability to defend and rebound are attributes that contribute to a fast playing style.
“We’re going to play fast and win games,” returning center Zack Stirn said.
The team is looking forward to a lot of fans being in attendance to spectate and cheer.
“Having a huge student section cheering is the greatest motivator and best thing to see on game day,” Stirn said.
The players are not the only ones excited for a competitive season. Krause is looking forward to a rowdy student section as well.
“When you walk into a packed gym in the winter, it is a very unique experience,” Krause said. “When people are getting into it, nothing can recreate the intensity you are going to feel in the next hour,”
Written By: Ben Luzar
As published in November 27, 2013 issue of FOCUS