Evart boys team eyes another strong basketball season

Wildcat coach Kris Morgan puts his team on the court this week



EVART – Kris Morgan’s Evart basketball team was 11-11 last season and the veteran Wildcat coach hopes to build on it for the 2021 campaign.

“Cameron Brasington and Donavin Reagan were both 3-year varsity athletes,” Morgan said. “They helped carry the load last year and we will miss their contributions on and off the floor. We will also miss Tony Hartsock’s 6-foot-7-inch frame protecting the rim and rebounding, and Justin Buckner’s clutch 3-pointers.”

Returning players include Brayden Cass, who will provide senior guard-leadership, defensive intensity and ball handling.

Junior guard Haidyn Simmer is a junior guard who will lend leadership and scoring along with junior forward Nolan Theunick who will provide leadership and rebounding skills.

New players include senior guards Donovan Duncan and Pierce Johnson; senior small forwards Nate Sochocki; junior forwards Cannan Morgan, Ben Moore and Daryin Reagan; junior guard Daulton Higgins; sophomore guard Gavin Simmer and sophomore forward Kamden Darling-sophomore forward.

“We pretty much rebuilt our program last year,” Morgan said. “We added an experienced, very knowledgeable JV coach, Brian Koopman, last year. He has provided our program with a wealth of knowledge and leadership. No one expected many wins out of last year’s teams. We exceeded expectations and worked through a lot of adversities. This year, we have better numbers, 12 instead of eight and will continue to improve our program and compete every night we take the floor.

“We will be a much deeper team this year. No one knows what this year will bring, because of the virus. We could be without starters or key players, we must be ready to adjust to that and not miss a beat. We only have three returning players from last year’s team. We must work to make sure everyone knows the offense and our defensive schemes. Our chemistry is pretty solid off the court. All our guys get along well. We do need to figure out our on the court tendencies and preferences.”

Evart is home Tuesday against McBain Northern Michigan Christian and hosts Houghton Lake on Thursday.

Both are Highland Conference games.

“The Highland is always a strong conference,” Morgan said. “McBain has a lot of key players returning. Every team will battle every night. There are no easy nights in our league. I see us competing right along with everyone else.

“We stress ‘making adjustments’ constantly within our program. Adjust to the defense. Adjust to the refs. Adjust to what the other team is giving you. (COVID delays) is just another adjustment that we are making. We are doing our best with the time we have been given. Sure, it isn’t the best situation, but it is our current reality and we will do our best to adjust to it.”