MATHISTON – The East Webster boys team are one year removed from a playoff berth, but there is plenty of uncertainty coming into this season.
The Wolverines lost to Bassfield in the first round of last year's Class 2A playoffs. Head coach Corey Stidham is excited to start the season, but really doesn't know what to expect.
"There is a lot of unknown right now," Stidham said. "(We) have a bunch of new guys getting on the floor. We are very small. (We) don't have a lot of size. We are ready to play in some games and see where we stack up. We have a long ways to go. We are going to have to fight for everything we get. We are going to have to do it by defending, blocking out and rebounding."
The Wolverines do have two seniors who have had much playing time. Malik Jones and Marcus Ward will have to take on a leadership role this season.
"They are a couple of ball handlers and guys that can score," Stidham said. "They are going to have to lead us scoring-wise. We are not overly athletic. We are not going to be able to out-jump and out-run any team we play. We are going to play hard, try to make open shots, defend and rebound as good as we can."
Although last year's playoffs ended early for East Webster, it is something they have to build off of and use as a springboard for this season.
"We lost a lot of guys last year," Stidham said. "We have guys that have to step up. Lately, it's been a lot of that where every year we lose a lot of our key contributors. We have to make up for it in other ways. We have to go build off the momentum of the games that we did play well, learn from them and see if we can do better every game."
East Webster runs a slower type tempo and struggles to put the ball in the basket at times.
"We hope to be able to score," Stidham said. "We were hoping we could last year. We don't have any dynamic scorers. We have a couple of guys that we be capable of putting up big numbers on different nights. We are not going to be able to win games in the high 60s, 70s. We are not going to be able to run that tempo. If we can keep the games in 40s and 50s, we have a chance to win ballgames."
Jones and junior Samuel Butler are the two Stidham believes can score points on any given night.
"(Jones) has a chance to put up fairly decent numbers," Stidham said. "He can shoot fairly well and handle the ball.
"I think (Butler) will be able to get us some points here and there."