The first season on the bench for Montcalm head boy’s basketball coach, Adam Havens, was not exactly what you would call memorable.
“I had been an assistant coach for right at 10 years, but dealing with Covid as a first-year head coach and having the season moved twice, it played a big factor in our numbers,” Havens said. “I think we played our first game with seven players and played our last game regular season game with six. We had a positive Covid case and could not play in the sectional tournament. It was a tough year on many levels. It doesn’t feel as much like a second year as maybe I would want.”
Year two may feel more like year one, but one positive for the Generals is the numbers are better. The challenge will be getting everyone on the same page.
“I have two returning players that started all year, so they are familiar with my system. But, the rest of the team is learning the system and the style we like to play. We are definitely on the lower end of the learning curve,” Havens said.
The Montcalm roster has 13 players this year with five returning players. Three of the five returning players that finished the season were leading scorer, junior Noah White, senior Isaac Reed and junior Zach Fink.
Better numbers will be more conducive to Havens style of play this year.
“We want to play very up-tempo and put a lot of pressure on the ball. We look to get a lot of possessions and get shots up early in the possession,” Havens said. “We will try to be aggressive on defense and get out and run as much as possible.”
The Generals will also have some new faces and kids returning after missing last year that Havens thinks will be a big plus for his team.
Devin Green is a first year basketball player that was the leading receiver on the Montcalm football team.
“Devin is a football focused kid, but decided to give basketball a try. He is very athletic and can really jump,” Havens said. “He is quick and he will help us defensively and rebounding the basketball.”
Junior Kobie Neal will likely be the starter in the middle for Havens. Neal played his freshman year, but missed last season. The Montcalm coach looks for him to have a solid year inside.
“Trent Nunn played last year and we were really impressed with him as a freshman. He has worked hard and grown into a player that we will get varsity minutes out of this year,” Havens said. “Logan Carver is another player that we think may help us later in the year.”
Havens says his team has been learning how to communicate really well in the postseason and that will in turn help them defensively.
“Our ability to defend the basketball will be a strength. We have a lot of athletes that are quick and they read the floor really well,” Havens said. “They really put pressure on the ball. We feel like we can turn people over and get out in transition a lot.”
The postseason ride for the Generals has never been an easy one. Thanks to reclassification, Class A Region 3 is arguably the toughest in the state.
“We now have the addition of James Monroe in our section, which was already tough with Greater Beckley and Mount View,” Havens said Then you go to the region and you have Greenbrier West and Webster County and it doesn’t get any easier over there.”
Havens is well aware of the mountain his team has to climb and what type of effort it will require from his team.
“I think we may sneak up on some people. We are going to compete and our kids know what it takes,” Havens said. “They know it will take 32 minutes every night of just getting after everybody. What we are preaching is competing day in and day out.”