Youthful Knights take on all challengers in ‘14 season
The loss of nine important seniors to the roster leaves the Tyler Consolidated Silver Knight basketball program scrambling to rebuild for the 2014 season.
The loss of stalwart seniors Cole Kocher, Dylan Reynolds, Swen Scheidlemantel, Chase Cornell, Nathan Heintzman, Ryan Dalrymple, Skylar Leasure, Noah Garrison and Dylan Romine (though he was injured for most of the year) to graduation, leave the Knights filling important positions on the court with underclassmen. Though they come to the team with good fundamental skills from the feeder middle school, freshman and junior varsity programs, the starting line-up is still up in the air.
“We have a very young team, with only three seniors on the roster,” said head coach of the Silver Knights, J.C. Kimble. “While they are extremely athletic and enthusiastic, for the most part they are young and, as yet, untested in varsity waters. It’s a big difference to go up against a 13 or 14 year old and an 17 or 18 year old. We’re going to take our bumps and bruises, but we’re going to give it everything we’ve got this year. It won’t be from a lack of trying, I’ll say that.”
Twenty-five players have signed up to be part of the Silver Knight basketball experience: three seniors, five juniors, seven sophomores and 11 freshmen.
All three seniors return with game experience for the Silver: Josh Smith, 6’2″, G/F; Blake Carpenter, 5’10”, G; and Jonathan Lancaster, 6’4″, F.
“These three guys have been with us since they were freshmen and they’ll play important roles on the team,” the coach said. “Besides being leaders on the court and off, all three have good skills and are dependable.”
Juniors returning to the roster and seeing varsity time this season will be Daron Weekley, 5’11”, G/F; Austin Thompson, 6’4″, F; Kyle Frum, 6′, F; and Josh Peck, 5’10”, G. Big man for the team last year, Kordell Stewart, 6’2″, was injured during football season and will likely be sitting the season out on the bench.
“The juniors are going to be more important defensively for us than anywhere else,” Kimble said. “These guys know the drill and they follow through very well. Of course we’re going to miss Kordell in the line-up. He played a big part on the team last year.”
The seven sophomores will likely make up the bulk of the junior varsity team, coached by D.J. Cunningham: Dylan Harter, 6’2″, G; Trent Smith, 6’3″, G; Jace Reed, 5’11”, G; Tyler Anderson, 5’11”, G/F; Joey Simpkins, 5’8″, G; Quinton Richmond, 6’1″, F; and Tyler Spencer, 5’11”, F.
Reed started for Kimble and crew last year on the varsity team and will more than likely keep his spot as a hot handed shooter this season. Another two or three have been marked for varsity time as well, and depending how the season goes, more could move up.
Fortunately for the success of the future of the program, the Silver Knights will again field a freshman team this season. Coached by Scott Wall the 11 freshmen this season include: Nathan Lancaster, 5’10”; Kyle Mason, 5’7″; Jesse Doak, 5’11”; Levi Smith, 5’11”; Brandon Weigle, 5’8″; Mark Wilson, 5’4″; Dylan Roberts, 5’7″; Colby Buchanan, 5’7″; Luke Daugherty, 5’9″; Aaron Warner, 5’5″; and Joel Hammer, 5’10”.
“Almost half this team are football players and have been in the weight room and are in excellent shape,” coach Kimble said. “We have no worries that they’re not physically fit. And having just come off a successful football season, we’re hoping it makes them hungry enough to go the extra distance it’s going to take here on the basketball court.”
While athleticism may be a great strength for the 2014 team, the overall youth of the program and inexperience is sure to cause a few headaches in the locker room. “The main weakness we are seeing is the fact that we haven’t melded as a team yet,” the coach said. “We’re not used to playing together, we haven’t got all the nuances of interaction that teams who have played for a long time together have.”
“But we’re getting there.”
The Silver Knight varsity team finished the 2013 season with six wins, but looks to add to that number, and to their success this season.
The team opened their season on Dec. 9 at Valley.