MANLIUS — Most coaches, no matter what the sport is, likes to list senior leadership as a key to their team’s success for the upcoming year.
When first-year coach Jason Marquis says it, he’s not just using a cliche, he really means it.
This year’s Storm roster is stacked with seniors, 11 of 15 players to be exact, and Marquis says the leadership has been evident in practice already, stating all of them have been willing to work hard and get better each day.
“The seniors, as a group, are needed and expected to provide great leadership for our team,” said Marquis, who graduated from BVHS in 2004. “Specifically, some of the key guys from last year like Brian Lange, Frank Gebeck and Jordan Monier will be looked to when we really need a boost in practice and games.”
Lange, Gebeck and Monier return from a squad that finished 11-14 overall and 8-6 in the conference last season. Their leadership will be important early in the season as the Storm opens with a brutal road schedule, playing 14 of their first 15 games away from Manlius.
BV will also bring back leading scorer Parker Neuhalfen who averaged 14.0 ppg as a freshman at the varsity level last season and earned All-BCR First Team honors. Neuhalfen, at 6-2, is a threat from the outside but can also create his own shot and drive to the hoop with his quickness.
“Parker is a team first kind of player, so he will do what it takes to help our team win,” Marquis said. “That might be distributing, rebounding, scoring or shutting down his assignment on the defensive end on any particular night.”
The loss of Bryce Walters due to graduation will leave a hole inside the paint, but the Storm have brought up Tommy Johnston (6-3, 180 pounds) from the sophomore ranks to add depth to the post position.
The Storm will also look for key minutes out of Logan Hoffert, a versatile wing player, and Bryce Hansen, a three-point threat.
Seniors Tyler DeBrock, McKinley Kruger, Logan Marquez, Josh Renner, Hunter Klemme and Conor Mooney, and juniors Ryan Young and Kyle Rokey round out the roster.
Marquis, who said it was an honor to be named head coach at Bureau Valley, won’t change much in the playbook from year’s past.
“We have some new ideas we have implemented on both ends of the court but are also using some of the concepts that have been taught at BV for a long time,” Marquis said. “In the end, philosophies are only relevant if they are executed properly. Our goal is to be disciplined with what we do and do those things very well.
“We want everybody who sees us play know that we work hard, each and every night. If that happens, I believe we’ll have a chance down the stretch to put ourselves in a position to win.”
The Storm will tip off their season Monday against Annawan at the Wethersfield Thanksgiving Tournament.
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