The Alma Center Lincoln High School boys basketball team has had its fair share of challenges this season.
From having a young roster to dealing with injuries, the Hornets (3-12, 2-8) haven’t been having the type of season teams typically desire. Entering the season with a young and inexperienced team is something that coach Matt Dale knew would put them at a disadvantage. On the other hand, watching those young players develop was one of the rewards.
“We kind of knew coming into the season that we would be young and inexperienced,” Dale said. “The seniors have done what we expect of them, play hard on the floor, but a lot of the talent and athleticism are with the sophomores.”
The Hornets have seen production from two key sophomores this season. Ethan Breheim gained valuable experience last year after playing regularly as a freshman. Now, he leads the team with an average of 14.9 points per game, while classmate Justin Rowekamp follows at 10.3 points per game. Although there has been some success, shooting has been something the team has struggled with, according to Dale.
Another challenge the Hornets have faced more often than they would like is a recurring problem of untimely scoring droughts.
“It comes down to one poor stretch without making a basket,” Dale said. “We go from being down four or five to being down 14 or 15 pretty fast and we can’t recover from that.
“It’s the little things that add up throughout the course of the game. Those three or four minute segments put us in a hole.”
Working on eliminating those stretches is something that Dale hopes will happen down the stretch as tournament time inches closer.
After playing against potential teams that they will battle at the end of the season, the Hornets know what to work on in order to bring a higher level of competitiveness to the game
“If we have a chance to play them (past competitors) again, we can make adjustments and have one or two less turnovers and one or two more made shots,” Dale said.
“It would put a huge swing in the game and would give us a change to pull the upset. Knowing how close we are and knowing we have an opportunity to play one of these teams we played tough against, and having the chance to pull an upset, (that) keeps the kids going.”