TOWAMENCIN >> The last three days were very good to Methacton boys basketball.
After going 7-0 over the weekend at East Stroudsburg’s team camp, the Warriors won both their games at Dock Mennonite’s summer league Monday night. The Warriors didn’t miss a beat Monday as they continue the unheralded work that goes into making a team better.
With a stellar 2017-18 season behind it, Methacton is only looking to go further this coming winter.
“I’m pleased, we’ve being playing really well but we still have to improve on some things,” Methacton rising junior Brett Eberly said. “The coaches have pointed those out to us, so we know what we have to do.”
Methacton, with a team made of mostly juniors and seniors last winter, went 18-8 and won the PAC tournament title before bowing out in the first round of the District 1-6A tournament. For as good of a run as it was, it was also a bit of a surprise to the Warriors.
They knew they had talent last year, but Eberly said as such a young team, they weren’t sure if they were ready to make that jump. Methacton did get off to a slow start, but found its confidence and then its stride as it closed the season about as strongly as possible.
“We have been in those tough positions because of last year and the kids coming up are going to push us,” Eberly said. “We’re going to push them back to make them become better and that as a whole will make our team better.”
One of those up and comers is Erik Timko, who played JV last year but was knocking down 3-pointers with regularity on Monday. Even the returning players like Eberly, rising senior sharpshooter David Duda and rising junior big man Jeff Woodward are still getting better, so Methacton is confident its best ball is still coming.
Where the winter season is a grind, Eberly said the summer affords the team a chance to focus internally and push themselves to improve. Woodward, a commanding 6-foot-9 presence, looked good on Monday winging passes out of the post to shooters while guys like Eberly and Ben Christian sliced around him for solid looks.
“We should be thinking that we can do this and looking to go more forward, maybe even going to states,” Eberly said. “I think we can get to another level, but it’s all about the time we put in. If we’re not putting in the time, then we’re not going to get anywhere.”
Summer turnout has been really good for Methacton and it’s been showing in the Warriors’ performance on the floor.
“Everybody’s been coming to these summer camps and leagues and we’re building strong chemistry,” Eberly said. “We’re starting to almost read each other’s minds on the court. We look for the open person, nobody is afraid to shoot, we’re looking for any open person to have them shoot.”
For as long as he’s been coaching at Souderton, Tim Brown has seen large senior classes come through year after year.
Going into what will be his third season at the helm, Brown again finds himself almost starting over after losing six seniors from last year’s team. It leaves the Indians a little under-experienced but also as a mostly blank canvas.
Yes, there will be a new host of seniors moving up, but most of them have been biding their time for this opportunity.
“There’s a lot of excitement in our program,” Brown said. “We have 15 guys we feel that can play varsity and we’re telling them ‘go grab it.’ If they want a spot, it’s up to them to go take that spot.”
Souderton was a little shorthanded on Monday, with Andrew Vince at a football workout and Dom Natale still sidelined with a foot injury but the guys on the floor were active and aggressive. Natale, who played a lot of minutes for Souderton as a sophomore last year, has seen a lot to like from this coming season’s group.
“I think we have the ability to do something special if we’re clicking at the right time,” Natale said. “We have a lot of talent, it’s all a matter of how we use this summer to work and build our chemistry.”
Natale said even though he’s out, he’s been making it to every open gym, workout or summer league game he can just to be around the guys. A methodical team last year on offense, the Indians look like they can push the pace at will once winter rolls around.
Against Methacton, Zach Thatcher and Kyle Walker led the attack but Souderton at any time had four or five guys on the floor capable of getting the ball up the court quickly.
“We have younger talent coming up through the system and they’re pressing the seniors,” Brown said. “It’s a free for all right now, anybody can grab a role. This is a great proving ground for us to see all that. We’re a completely different team, we had bigs that you’d want to put it in the post now we have five guys that all want to get running.”
Souderton’s a little smaller, though the absence of Vince and Natale certainly affected that, but they made up for it with hustle on Monday. Rising senior Mekhi Williams, another player who got some varsity minutes last season, worked hard on both ends against some of Methacton’s size.
“No one has seen us before, they don’t know what to expect and I think we can use that to our advantage throughout the season,” Natale said. “That’s the idea of it, hopefully, because it’s a lot harder to guard a team that’s unpredictable.”
For Souderton, which went 8-14 last year, it will start in the SOL Continental where the Indians posted a 3-9 record. They hung tough in a lot of games but let too many slide, something that can’t happen if Brown wants to get his first district playoff appearance as a head coach.
“There’s no finish line for us, we’ve been thinking ‘make districts’ the past few years but we’re not going to post those standards because we feel like we can do some good things here,” Brown said. “We want to make districts and go from there but for these guys, the world’s their oyster and they’re doing a good job of making it their own so far.”
TWICE AS NICE
It’s the second year for Dock’s summer league after Pioneers head coach Mike Fergus re-started it last year,
The Dock coach, who is going into his fourth year leading the Pioneers, again put together a 12-team field of area competition after getting a lot of positive feedback last year. The league, which takes place on Mondays, runs through July 30.
The Pioneers, who just had their court re-done, saw plenty of positives last season when they won the BAL tournament title, made the District I-2A title game and won the first state playoff game in school history. With a large number of players returning, Fergus is hoping this summer can pay off in a similar manner.
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