The season begins Dec. 2 for the Swede boys’ basketball team and coach Scott Carlin says that there’s a little bit of buzz happening on the court that has him excited for what’s in store this season.
“I think there’s an accountability among them because they want it more,” he said. “Everybody has been a bit more open about saying, ‘that’s not our standard’ and that’s great to see as a coach. To me, that means they’re open to pushing themselves and one another to be better.”
The Swedes will take on an experienced Lexington Minutemen team that has a lot of on-court experience back from last season.
“They graduated one of their better point-scorers but they have a really good junior class,” he said. “I know they like to shoot the ball from the outside so we are really going to have to limit the dribble penetration and the drive and kick opportunities for them.”
Carlin said Lexington has traditionally played a lot of man-to-man defense and a four-and-one type of offense.
The bottom line, though, is that the Swedes need to protect on both ends.
“We have got to be ready to take care of the ball and execute,” he said.
On Dec. 3 the Swedes hit the road to Hershey to take on the Panthers.
Carlin said that while the Panthers may be a little younger this season after graduating eight players last season, the Swedes will need to stay firm on their game plan.
“We are going to have to execute,” he said. “I expect a little bit more of a 2-3 zone out of them and they rebound the dickens out of the ball so we are going to have to crash the boards hard and be ready to box out.”
Carlin knows that he’s got a great balance of speed, size and experience on his club this year and the look his club will present on the floor is one that will keep opponents on their heels.
“We are looking at some different zone presses, man presses and half-court zone defenses where we can drop the ball in the half court,” he said. “We have the experience to try some different things which is a luxury that not a lot of teams have.”
The Swedes may not be the traditionally-sized team for a basketball team, they get big in a different way.
“Our guys may not be the traditional six-seven or six-eight guys but there is six-three with long limbs and I think maybe more importantly is the spring,” Carlin said. “We have guys who can get up after the ball and get down the court. I think we can force a lot of deflections and just really change tempo on teams.”
Carlin continued to say that the youth of his club is something that has shown to be very beneficial for some of the veterans on the team.
“It’s been fun to see them challenging one another,” Carlin said. “The camaraderie on this team is one where we have more experienced players helping younger classmates along and at the same time that underclassmen are pushing that upperclassman is being pushed to elevate their game.”
Carlin said his club is ready to go for the season and excited to change the culture of Swede basketball.
“We know, as a program, there’s a sense of urgency and I think the kids are ready to push that change a little bit,” he said.
The Swedes tip off at Gothenburg High School against the Lexington Minutemen at 4:30 on Thursday, Dec. 2 in the junior varsity matchup with the varsity contest to begin at the conclusion of the girls’ varsity game.
Those not attending may stream the game on the Gothenburg Activities YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/GothenburgActivities.
On Dec. 3, the Swedes travel to Hershey to take on the Panthers at Hershey High School. The junior varsity game begins at 4 p.m.
Please not that there has been a change in the boys' basketball calendar. The Swedes' game against Southern Valley, originally scheduled for Dec. 9 has been moved to Monday, Dec. 6 due to scheduling conflicts for the Eagles. There will be no junior varsity game. The Swede boys' varsity team tips off at 7 p.m.