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Off the Rim column: Team camaraderie, rebounding necessary for STC success

December 27, 2012
By Jimmy Gillispie - Sports Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

South Tama's boys and girls basketball teams have completed nearly half of their regular seasons and each has rode the imaginary rollercoaster during the past month.

It's clich one that STC volleyball coach Michelle Bradley used frequently, but rightfully so during the Trojans up and down fall season and it can be said about most teams, especially those who hover around a .500 record. Those teams win a game and then lose badly or they get on a winning streak and lose a game that should have been a cupcake.

Heading into the Christmas break, both South Tama teams are sitting at 4-4. They've both taken different rollercoasters to reach this point. However, both squads have high ceilings, but must first improve in a few small areas if they wish to achieve their goals.

First it starts with one of the basic fundamentals of basketball. Both teams must rebound better. Neither STC team has a lot of height, which hinders their rebounding abilities, but they make up for it with hustle and athletic ability. Both South Tama squads are quite athletic with quick, lengthy players, which has made up for some fundamental flaws.

However, the Trojans must block out on the defensive end. It sounds simple, but it's almost become a lost art in today's game. Players tend to go right for the rim, instead of putting their rear into their opponent first. Staying fundamentally sound will make a big difference on defense.

Both teams are quite good at crashing the offensive rebounds. They hustle and scrap with the best of them for the ball. Jade Rohach and Hailee Weiss stand out on the girls squad, while Vinny Lasley and Sam Kuhter appear to be the best offensive rebounders on the boys team. No disrespect to the other STC players, because they play hard, too.

The next improvement is a bit more complicated than playing fundamentally sound. It's one aspect of the game that both STC coaches have harped since the beginning of the season. The Trojans must use better teamwork and play unselfish.

On the girls side, it's improved from the first game. Coach Marsha Keahna said her team must grow together and learn how to play with each other. She couldn't have been more correct. It's a month into the season and it appears that the girls team is starting to gel.

There have been moments recently where one player might try to take over the offense on a play, but it's becoming rarer as the season progresses. When the Trojans play unselfishly and swing the ball on offense, their offense flows and easy shots become available.

The same thing could be said for the STC boys team. In the Trojans four wins, the unselfish offense is very evident and it leads to points and victories. They aren't shy about spreading the ball and points around during those wins.

However, the Trojans have played the opposite during their four losses. In those games, many of their offensive possessions consist of two or fewer passes before a shot is fired. It simply doesn't work with this team. The Trojans must play unselfishly and make the defense work during the possession. Long possessions are tough on defenders, especially if it results in an offensive basket.

When South Tama has played unselfishly, it's been more often on the fast break than the half-court offense. The Trojans must speed up the game and play their tempo if they want to finish the season with a winning record.

The STC boys have sped up their opponents with a full-court defense and turning defensive rebounds into a fast-break offense during their victories. Opponents will try slowing them down, but their defense must create a faster tempo. The Trojans are great in the full-court game and must it to their advantage.

Both squads have the potential this season. They are both lead by seniors and juniors with an array of talent. The STC boys have already won more games this season than they did last year. A winning season, which hasn't happened in the boys program in more than a decade, is quite possible. The STC girls were aiming to be conference champs. It's still possible for a talented Trojans team.

Come support the South Tama basketball teams in 2013. The Trojans will be back in action Jan. 4 at home.



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