By Dan Hardenbrook
The Newberry boys basketball teams took on two of the top teams in the EUP this week when they played at Pickford before returning to battle the Bulldogs of Rudyard. Even though they took two tough losses, Coach Kenn Depew was impressed by some improvement. “We played two top teams and held them in the 50s. If you told me we would play Pickford and only give up 53, then hold Rudyard to 51, I would’ve taken that in a heartbeat.”
The Indians had a tough task when they played in Pickford last Tuesday night. The Panthers, playing for the first time this season, picked up right where they left off in football season. Led by 6’ 8’ Nick Edington, the Panthers were able to control the pace, spread out their attack, and find enough ways to score. Issac Brown and Jimmy Storey had solid performances in the 53-34 final. Coach Depew reacted to the loss by saying, “We played them pretty tough, but eventually they just [inbound] to a guy that’s six-foot-eight, and at that point there’s not much you can do.”
It was another rough night against Rudyard, as the Indians offense struggled to get going. With Logan Depew and Luke Jordan locked down, the tribe had trouble creating enough offense in a 51-35 loss. “We’ve got to figure out a way to get the offense going,” said Depew. “Actually, I’ve got to figure that out. It’s going to be a goal over the break. Luke and Logan are good, but we’ve got to create opportunities to get them the ball. We don’t have anybody that can really create their own shot. So we have to shake up the way we are doing things.”
Depew was pleased with what his team has done on defense. “We are playing hard and we are making it difficult for other teams. These are two strong teams with a ton of size. But we keep working. The effort is there and I’m proud.”
Pickford is already 2-0 on the year and Rudyard is off to a 3-1 start. Two opponents with a combined 5-1 record.
Those two teams have both had their lowest scoring games of the young season against the Indians. Last year, Pickford finished 9-11 and averaged over 60 points per game. In their two games against Pickford last season, Newberry gave up 68 and 73 points. Rudyard racked up 11 wins last year and scored an average of 66 points per game. But against the tribe, they scored 95 and 84. They say in sports that the numbers don’t lie. Look at the Newberry boys basketball team against these opponents, and the truth is they are improving. They cut the Pickford point total by 16 points based on last year’s stats, and achieved a massive 40 point improvement in their battle with the Bulldogs. Factoring in a new coach, and a team still trying to find its form, it’s clear the Newberry boys are already improving their game.