Junior Kyler Steinkamp put it best.
““If we’re not tired, then we weren’t doing something right,” Steinkamp said.
Augusta’s boys basketball team plans on running. A lot. The Orioles won’t be running a lot of their usual Box-1 offensive sets. With a different personnel group, coach David Stephenson implemented a new style to take full advantage of the Orioles’ plethora of athletic guards.
“We put in some new stuff starting over the summer…and the kids got used to it,” Stephenson said. “Kind of a newer offense to take advantage of shooting, speed, attacking, penetrating. Not so centered around the post.”
The fast-paced style won’t be as constraining as usual, something the players like about the changes.
“We just go,” Kesten Trebbe said. “We’ll have people running the sides, so whoever is open, just hit them.”
“Just about anybody can bring it up the court,” Chase Winter said.
Winter and Trebbe are two seniors who, on any given night, can get hot shooting the ball, especially 3-pointers. They said that Stephenson has been disappointed at times when they don’t shoot the ball.
Steinkamp, who had a breakout season a year ago, will be a focal point of the offense and, undoubtedly, a point of emphasis by opposing defenses. But he said he has learned from playing during the summer and from his coaches how to handle the spotlight. He’ll take critical shots when necessary, but he also wants to be a team leader.
“Just being vocal on the floor, telling people where they need to be, making sure everyone is in the right spots, getting set up if we don’t have anything,” Steinkamp said. “But definitely trying to lead on the court.”
Taking advantage of fast breaks and getting to the free throw line will be strong points of emphasis. While working hard every play is mandatory, the Orioles still have to make smart decisions.
“Not hustling is not a concern. I don’t think we’re going to get outworked by anybody,” Stephenson said. “Turnovers and rebounding are the biggest two issues. We’ve got to find a way to make the passes when we’re a little bit smaller than the other team, and we’ve got to find a way to rebound.”
With Sean Brandenburg out for the season with an injury, the Orioles will have younger players like Connor Hurst get more playing time. Stephenson said Hurst has been great on both sides of the floor. Augusta also has athletic players like juniors Kolton Schenker, who has enough hops for a dunk here or there, and Tristan Finch. Younger players like Dustyn McEachern and Michael Albright can get some court time. Caleb Laubhan will be a key post player.