From football to basketball: Ladd continues to play a key role for Evart

Wildcat basketball team is above .500

Jake Ladd




EVART – Jake Ladd has been a major boost for Evart in various sports and is looking at trying to continue that for the Wildcat basketball team this winter.

The Wildcats are above .500 after wins this week against Pine River and Beaverton and hope to keep the momentum going throughout the next few weeks.

Evart coach Kris Morgan was expecting plenty of production from Ladd, a senior guard, this season.

“Toughness and rebounding are two of Jake's biggest assets he brings to the team,” Morgan said. “He plays with heart, energy and hustle.”

Ladd was also a key player for the Evart district championship football team.

“It was a great season and we really accomplished what we wanted to do,” he said.

The Wildcats lost by a point to Iron Mountain in the regional finals.

“The second half wasn’t our half but we could have gone farther than what we did,” Ladd said.

Ladd was a wide receiver-defensive back and was  voted MHSFCA All Region Athlete and first team all conference.

“Jake is our Swiss Army Knife,” Evart football coach Pat Craven said. “He can do everything on the field. He is used in the run game, passing game, and defensively as a hybrid safety/linebacker. Jake had 347 receiving yards with seven TDs and 199 rushing yards and three TDs.  He had 86 tackles and one interception.”

Once football ended and after a week break, the Evart players were able to assimilate into the basketball mode. This is Ladd’s second varsity basketball season.

“Last year, it didn’t go as well as we wanted it to but we’ll be a lot better this year,” Ladd promised. “We have a lot of talent. Our defense is really good and our speed will help us this season.

“My defense will be a big part of my game. You have to talk, move your feet and box out.”

Ladd has high hopes for the 2022-23 basketball Wildcats.

“We’re a title contender,” he said. “We’re going to have a good season this year. Defense has to be our top priority and we have to be locked in and ready to go on offense.”

Ladd also does baseball in the spring.

“I like all three sports equally,” he said.

But Morgan especially likes having Ladd in basketball right now.

"Jake has been our workhorse," Morgan said. "He's our heart and soul of the team. Every game, we ask Jake to guard guys physically bigger than him. Jake has an edge to him, he always has. It doesn't matter how big the kid is, Jake will compete and never complain about his matchup. Jake is way under six foot tall. We have guards taller than Jake. But, Jake's heart hustle and strength make up for his lack of height. Jake looks for any opportunity to dive in the ground, take a charge or box someone out.

"On offense, Jake finds ways to score. We try to spread teams out and minimize that height advantage with our speed and quickness. Jake has improved his footwork and ball handling. He still has room to grow. Jake's willingness to do all the dirty work for not a lot of stats or press, makes us appreciate him even more. Jake is one of our team captains, because of all that I already mentioned."