Talk about your experience.
Second-year West Noble High School boys basketball coach Jim Best has six returning letterwinners all of whom started games at some point during a 13-11 season a year ago.
“We have plenty of experience back, but like most every team at this point we need a couple of tests to see where we stand,” the coach said.
Best doesn’t have much longer to wait as the Chargers open the season with a trip to East Noble Tuesday.
“That will be a tough test for us,” the coach said. “I saw East Noble over the summer and they start 6-8 ad 6-7 players. The team also gets up and down the floor very well.”
Among the Charger veterans are last season’s top three scorers in 6-3 junior Drew Schermerhorn (308 points), 5-7 senior guard Nick Thomas (249) and 6-7 senior forward Nick Noe (228).
Other returnees are 6-3 senior forward Armando Rosales (64), 6-5 junior forward Keith Gibson (190) and 6-6 junior guard-forward Phil Miller (110).
“Like most teams we traveled and played a lot of games in June. Then in July we backed off and just had the players come in to shoot when they could,” Best said.
“Drew, Armando, Nick and Phil (Miller) played a lot of AAU ball over the summer. AAU is a double-edged sword. There is not a lot of defense. The goal is to get up and down the floor and showcase your offensive skills. From that aspect it’s not all good, but at the same time kids get a chance to work on moves. You can try something out in an AAU game and if it doesn’t work it doesn’t cost you like it does during the season. Kids are at the same time are learning court awareness. It has also helped all of our kids mature.”
Best can put a lineup on the floor that includes 6-7 Noe, 6-6 Miller and 6-5 Gibson.
“We are good sized. We are not going to be short,” the coach said. “My hope is to have a good inside and outside game.”
Losses to graduation were Jordan Younce (105) and Damon Lortie (9)
Other current varsity players are 6-0 senior guard Johnny Miller, 6-1 senior forward David Ness, 5-10 junior guard Brandon Evans and 5-8 junior guard Landon Stover.
A year ago, West Noble averaged 53.8 points per game on offense and gave up 53.4 per contest on defense.
“We are going to be able to score points, but if we are going to have any success our defense has to get a lot better,” Best said. “As the season goes on the goal is to get better in man-to-man defense. Near the end of last season we relied a lot of the 2-3 zone and that is not something we want to hang our hat on.
“Adding a man-to-man defense means we can give teams different looks and make some point guards have to make some decisions.”
West Noble’s third game of the season on Dec. 1 is at Wawasee where Best was an assistant coach before arriving at West Noble.
“I was there for seven years,” he said. “The first five were as the freshman coach. The after one as the varsity assistant went back to the freshman when Phil Mishler (Wawasee coach) had the chance to bring Steve Austin (former Northridge coach now at Concord) in.
“One thing I learned last season in my first season as a head coach is the season comes around quick and goes by even quicker. I spent a lot of time writing things down last season. Now I’m spending time looking for where I put them.”
The Chargers play their first three games on the road before hosting Bremen on Dec. 6.
“That’s a tough way to start a season,” Best said.
Nov. 20 — East Noble T
Nov. 24 —Bethany Christian T
Dec. 1 — Wawasee T
Dec. 6 — Bremen H
Dec. 8 — Churubusco H
Dec. 14 — Central Noble T
Dec. 21 — Prairie Heights H
Dec. 28 — Eastside T
Jan. 4 — Lakeland H
Jan. 8-12 — NECC Tournament
Jan. 18— Fremont T
Jan. 19 — Whitko T
Jan. 25 — Fairfield H
Jan. 29 — NorthWood H
Feb. 1 — Westview H
Feb. 9 — Northridge H
Feb. 15 — Hamilton H
Feb. 16 — Angola T
Feb. 22 — Goshen T
Johnny Miller, G 6-0 Senior
David Ness, F, 6-1 Senior
Nick Noe, F, 6-7 Senior
Armando Rosales, F, 6-2 Senior
Nick Thomas, G, 5-7 Senior
Brandon Evans, G, 5-10 Junior
Keith Gibson, F, 6-5 Junior
Phil Miller, F, 6-6 Junior
Drew Schermerhorn, F, 6-3 Junior
Landon Stover, G, 5-8 Junior
Head coach: Jim Best, second season (13-11 in one).
Assistant coaches: Derek Gilreath, Kevin Hunter.