EVART \u2013 The boys basketball season is here and Jacob Hopkins and Jon Hooker both hope to play key roles for the Evart Wildcats. Evart opened its season Tuesday at Farwell. The first home game is Thursday with Boyne City. Hopkins played last season on the varsity and is now a junior. He played the last four games of the 2011-12 season. \u201cThey were challenging, but it wasn\u2019t too bad,\u201d Hopkins said of his experience. He\u2019s had a chance to work with the players during the offseason at Morey Courts. This marks the third week of practices and Hopkins likes what he sees on both offense and defense. \u201cEverything is a lot faster paced,\u201d Hopkins said of his transition to the varsity. \u201cThe guys are faster and stronger.\u201d Hopkins will be a small forward for the Wildcats. He hopes to be a good defensive player and shoot a lot of layups He\u2019s looking to improve at shooting, especially mid-range. \u201cWe have quite a bit of depth this year,\u201d Hopkins said. \u201cWe\u2019ll be fresh all the time, coming in and off from the bench. We\u2019re going to be a running team this year.\u201d Cutting down on turnovers and outworking the other team will be among the keys for success, Hopkins added. In the Highland Conference, \u201cI think we can beat them all. We have the guys who can do it this year,\u201d Hopkins said. \u201cI think we\u2019ll be able to contend,\u201d Hooker said. \u201cWe\u2019ll be up there. A lot of teams lost a lot. We have to limit turnovers and play together and play hard.\u201d Hooker is a senior on his third varsity season. \u201cMy sophomore year, we started out slow,\u201d he said. \u201cLast year, we had a good season with a lot of quality wins. My role changed with a new offense. Jared Pattee stepped up and took more of the point guard position. That moved me to a shooting guard.\u201d Kris Morgan took over the coaching duties about a month before the 2011-12 season started. Morgan has had a full year to work with this team which will be a plus, Hooker indicated. Hooker anticipates his role will be a shooting guard again although he may see other duties. With our offense, it\u2019s more of a drive offense, getting to the hoop and the free-throw line,\u201d he said.