Tapling, Evart players happy with 3-1 start

EVART — Robbie Tapling would prefer his Evart boys basketball team be 4-0, but the Wildcats are still upbeat as they prepare for the January portion of their schedule.

The Wildcats were 3-0 prior to a 73-66 loss at Reed City on Dec. 16. They fired out to a 23-11 lead against the Coyotes before Reed City put together a successful rally. Tapling, a senior, scored 24 points.

“We kind of fell apart with their press,” Tapling said. “I really don’t know what to say. We fought hard. They won. They were the better team.”

When the Wildcats fired out to early leads, just about everything was going right for Evart.

“We came out early and had a little bit of fire with one of our best players (Noah Drake) going down early (with an ankle injury),” Tapling said. “We started running like we have been. Their press took us out. “

All four of Evart’s games so far have been nonleague.

“We’re happy, but we would have liked to have gotten this win,” Tapling said after the Reed City game. “We have confidence with league and McBain coming up.”

The Wildcats play at McBain Jan. 5 to open the Highland Conference schedule.

Tapling, in his third varsity season, indicated his role has basically stay the same. Evart was 4-17 last winter.

“I still take that leadership role in getting to the basket and giving guys open shots,” he said. “I think this is the best team we’ve had. We didn’t have a very good year last year, but we were very young. We only had two seniors.”

Against top notch opponents, “we have to play our basketball,” Tapling said. “We can’t stoop to what they want us to do. We have to press the way we want too,”

Tapling takes pride in his ability to get to the basket. There’s plenty of players who can score, he said while adding the Wildcats could be a league contender.

“First place,” Tapling said. “That’s what we’re going for.”