New-look Sabers will run the floor

 

Manistee Catholic Central senior Molly McLinden (left) drives to the basket during a game against Jonesville in last week’s statewide girls basketball camp at Manistee High School. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Manistee Catholic Central senior Molly McLinden (left) drives to the basket during a game against Jonesville in last week’s statewide girls basketball camp at Manistee High School. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — After Manistee Catholic Central’s big girls basketball camp at Manistee High School last week, two things became obvious: The Sabers will look much different this year, and the Sabers will look much different this year.

First, the team is almost all new, with only one player who was on the varsity roster going into last season. Seven of the eight players on that 2015-16 varsity roster were seniors.

It will also be very young, with just three upperclassmen. This year’s lone varsity returnee, Molly McLinden, will be the only senior.

Speaking of returning, the return of head coach Todd Erickson will result a very different style of play than fans have seen lately.

In short, the Sabers will run. A lot.

“It makes a lot more sense to get out and go without having to set anything up, if we can go to the other end and score,” Erickson said. “We have to get past the idea of, we got the rebound, now let everybody clear out, and then go down and set up.”

The players this season will, for the most part, be familiar with one another, having played on the MCC junior varsity together last season.

But there will be a learning curve with a new offense that must also include a whole new attitude.

Erickson said that last week’s camp showed just how steep that learning curve can be.

“In one game we played, we had a chance to get out and go on the break, which they didn’t know how to do,” he said. “So, we’re shooting at that on the fly, how to go on the break after a rebound, after a missed shot, how to get out, where to go, what area you need to be in.”

The change will not be pleasant for the players, at least at first. Conditioning will be at a premium, and attaining a higher fitness level will be crucial in the team’s success.

“If they want to get to where we were in the past, where we had gone in the past, to district, regionals and so forth, they have to step it up a little bit,” Erickson said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’ve started already, they’re starting to learn. We think there’s a building block here, we just have to get them to maintain a good attitude and play together, on both ends of the floor.”

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Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

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