By Jim Jones The Times-Gazette
November 26, 2013
Longtime varsity assistant Joe Wisecup takes over as head coach at McClain replacing Brent Eaton who left to take an administrative position at Wheelersburg, his high school alma-mater.
Wisecup was an important part of legendary Coach Rick VanMatre’s many league, sectional, and district championships over a span of 18 plus seasons. He also has been a voluntary assistant to Eaton over the past couple of years.
The Tigers lost seven talented and experienced seniors to graduation last year most notably guards Brent Shannon and John Turner who were probably two of the quickest in the league.
“Our guard play is a concern and something we will have to focus on at the start of the season,” Wisecup said “I think we have some people who can handle the ball and they will get better.”
McClain returns seven players with varsity experience led by senior Thomas Schrader and junior Ryan Faulconer. Schrader is a four-year varsity player who will assume the point guard duties to start the season and Faulconer a first-team All-S.C.O.L. performer was the Tigers leading scorer and rebounder last year.
“Ryan and Thomas will be expected to be our main leaders both offensively and defensively and are two of our captians.”
“Evan Mustard another senior captain is a good outside shooter who will need to pick up some scoring for us.”
Some other key returners will be seniors Mikel Pritchard and Jeremiah Savage.
“Mikel will definitely be in our top rotation and play a lot for us this year along with Jeremiah who is probably one of our best defensive players. Mikel is another one of our better shooters who can pull it up over people or put it on the floor and shoot it, so in order for us to be really successful he’s going to have to come along offensively and get a lot better defensively.”
Bryce Duff who is another talented guard is also expected to see a lot more playing time this year, along with Wyatt Jones.
“We need Jeremiah, Wyatt, and Bryce to really step up for us this year.”
Team strengths for this group should be the experience factor with seven returning lettermen and some pretty good size in the front court, which is a complete reversal from the last couple of seasons.
“For a Greenfield team we have a little more size inside this year which is almost opposite from previous years when we had four guards on the floor at one time.”
Offensively the Tigers will look similar to the past few teams except Wisecup wants to implement a little more open-post look.
“Our offense will look like the old-fashion offense that we ran in the past which will hopefully give Ryan (Faulconer) a few more options at flashing in the post. We also will be a little more patient this year because we don’t have the depth it takes to run a lot.”
On defense McClain hopes to play good old man-to-man putting lots of pressure on the basketball.
“We want to still try to play man defense as much as we possibly can and we’ve been working really hard at pressuring the ball and making people fill really un-comfortable in the quarter-court.”
Wisecup hasn’t really set any team goals for the season except to try to improve throughout the season.
“Our main goal will be to just get better every day and hopefully by tournament time at the end of the year we will be a better basketball team.”
“We will also need to work hard at getting mentally tougher which allows you to bounce back when things are not going well. So, if we can accomplish that we should be able to improve on what we did last year.”
Miami Trace and Clinton Massie are considered the league favorites along with Washington but Wisecup also thinks new-comer Chillicothe will be very competitive and well-coached.