Written by Andrew Ottoson Tuesday, 28 November 2006 18:00Seven key players-and four starters-from last year's Canton-Galva team are back for 2006-07: back row (from left) senior Shane Williams, junior Ted Regehr, senior Joel Hardman; front row, senior Stephen Jowers and junior Andrew Westbrook. Not pictured: senior Travis Myers.
Courtesy Canton-Galva Yearbook staff
The Canton-Galva boys' basketball team went 6-17 last year and picked up 11 of those losses against opponents in the Heart of America League.
"Shooting was a major issue for us last year," coach Chuck Kern said. "Even though we forced more turnovers and outrebounded our opponents, we couldn't overcome our poor shooting night in and night out."
Four starters return from last year's squad, but none were selected for all-league honors.
"We are the only HOA team that didn't have an all-league player last season," Kern said.
But since basketball is one of the rare sports that rewards players for buying in to a team-first approach to the game, Kern may be able to help the team use the all-league selection snub to the Eagles' advantage.
"All of our basketball players are involved in other sports, and Canton-Galva does not have any players who focus only on hoops every day.
"Because some of the teams in our league always have a couple of college-level players on their squad, the only way we can overcome their advantage is by playing as a team."
"Last year, it took our team until sub-state to figure that out, but when we did, the kids sure had fun."
Lots of coaches talk about playing as a team, but Kern's squad ended its season at the Class 2A sub-state finals.
"Sub-state was a different story from the rest of the season," Kern said. "We shot 40 percent from the field. How far our team goes this year may depend on how successful we are at finishing plays."
Four of the players Kern will call on to finish plays are returning starters Ted Regehr, Joel Hardman, Travis Myers and Stephen Jowers.
Regehr, a 6-feet, 2-inch junior, will play point guard.
"His basketball knowledge is pretty high," Kern said.
Stephen Jowers will also see some time at the point.
"He's fast, he runs the court really well and he's worked really hard at seeing the court," Kern said. "We'll need him to stretch the defense."
Senior forward Joel Hardman has been shooting well enough to take his game a little farther outside than he had.
"He's always done a good job of getting shots down low," Kern said. "Right now we'd prefer to run him on the wing. Either way, we'll look for him to get lots of rebounds and guard down low to get some stops."
Travis Myers is a 6-3 wing who is, according to Kern, a good offensive player.
"He's a good shooter and he's been working to improve at finishing around the basket," Kern said. "Myers, Jowers, and Hardman came in together as freshmen, and they've been playing varsity ever since."
Kern said this team is one of the most athletic squads in recent history at CGHS.
"Hopefully we'll be able to speed the game up and play with tempo (and) push the ball in transition," Kern said. "We stole part of the plan from Rusty Allen (Tabor College women's coach). We are going to play with intensity and maintain an intelligence to our game."
More than that, Kern believes the Eagles "are starting to get an idea of what it takes to get to the state level."
"We will go as far as our upperclassmen take us."
While it might shock a few people if four HOA schools ended up playing in the state tournament this year, Kern would not be surprised.