November 24, 2013

New era for Berries

Coach Skaggs has a young group in Year 1.

By Beau Wicker Pharos-Tribune

---- — There’s a sense of excitement around town for the start of the Pat Skaggs era in Logansport.

The Berries have a young but talented group to usher in the new era.

“We’re excited and really looking forward to the season,” Skaggs said. “We obviously know there will be a lot of challenges along the way and we’ve got a long way to go. But our kids so far are working hard in practice and they’re doing what we’re asking of them. As long as the effort is there and the attitude is there, we feel like we can get better each week.”

The Berries graduated all five starters and almost all of their production from a year ago. The only player who saw any extended varsity time is Andrew Wamsley, a 6-3 forward who is back for his senior season. He had 47 points and 60 rebounds on the season in limited action a year ago for a Berries squad that went 12-9.

Seniors joining Wamsley on the team this year include 6-0 seniors Travis Palmer and Brad Nies.

The Berries do have a player back with extensive varsity time, Skaggs’ son Carter, a 6-5 junior who scored 18.7 points per game at Pioneer a year ago. He canned 63 3-pointers a year ago which was tied for seventh in the state.

Other juniors on the Berries squad include 5-8 A.J. Smith, 5-9 Wyatt Kelley and 5-11 junior Jacob Steinman.

The lone sophomore on the varsity to start the season is 6-footer Alex Brink. Freshmen include 5-9 Matt Jennings, 6-4 Jalen Adaway and 6-3 Hunter DeHaven.

“We definitely have good young kids,” Pat Skaggs said. “Our JV team has good size.

“Right now our main thing is just trying to get everyone on the same page within the team concept and have guys accept their roles and understand what their strengths and weaknesses are.”

The Berries host Peru on Wednesday night to open the season. The Tigers are led by 6-10 junior center Seth Adelsperger, who has received offers from Indiana State and Valparaiso.

“Peru has an outstanding 6-10 junior kid who has really improved a ton from last year,” Skaggs said. “He’ll be a handful for us. We’re going to have to do everything we can to make sure we get a body on him when a shot goes up.”

Peru coach Jim Metcalfe was an assisant under Skaggs his first two years at Pioneer.

“We’ll have our hands full. It’s going to be a battle,” Skaggs said. “Peru has really good athletes and solid players.”

With a completely new-look team, there aren’t many expectations in Year 1. There is talk that there are three top 20 teams in the state in the Sectional 7 field to start the season including Marion, Kokomo and McCutcheon. Marion, Kokomo and Richmond are among the North Central Conference’s top contenders.

Skaggs is just hoping his squad improves from week to week.

“We’ve had several morning workouts before school,” he said. “We do have a long way to go on both ends of the floor. We need to be focused from the tip and understand what the game plan is and what we’re trying to do. We’re young and mistakes and growing pains are part of the journey.

“We’re trying to get a family atmosphere and environment within our team to develop some team unity and pride and by into what we’re trying to accomplish. ... We’re making strides in the right direction.