Redskins hope to grow as season progresses

| November 27, 2012

COSHOCTON – If Tom Hilgenberg was a scientist and a basketball coach, you might understand if he was spending a lot of his time in the laboratory working on a new concoction.

“We could use some Miracle-Gro that works on people,” said Hilgenberg as the Coshocton boys’ basketball rotated through free throw drills in the Coshocton High School gymnasium.

“You look around and you don’t see the 6-foot-7s, 6-5s and 6-4s in the athletes we have, but that’s the beauty of high school. You get what you have and you work with them.”

But it’s not coincidental that in Hilgenberg’s statement, he mentioned the word ‘athletes’.

“We’re definitely going to be one of the smallest teams in the Eastern District but effort-wise and attitude-wise, I’d put these guys up against any team I’ve had here. I think that with the style that we’re going to play and the aggressiveness, we’ll make up for our size.

“I’m not going to say that we’re going to win 16, 17 or 18 games, but I’m not going to say we’ll go 4-17 either. I love this team. Our strengths are the way we play team defense and the way we rebound the ball.”

Any size advantage Coshocton moved on through graduation with Brandon Taylor’s and Drew Jarvis’ 32 points and 20 big-man rebounds per game during an 18-5 season that ended in the regional tournament in Athens. This year, the tallest man on the team is Hilgenberg himself.

At 6-2, seniors Brock Bolden, Drew Dunlap, and JT Rizer tower over the rest of the team while senior Tanner Cognion and Josh Hilgenberg, the team’s only junior, are 6-1. Dunlap is the only true post player among them.

The tallest man currently in the Redskins’ system is 6-3 sophomore Nathan Leopard, a post on the junior varsity team.

The Redskins are also relatively inexperienced. Cognion and senior guards Kyle Corder and Curtis Blake are the only returning lettermen and they are 5-9 and 5-7, respectively.

But add the influx of a deep sophomore class and the mighty-mite Redskins’ ‘in your face’ attack Hilgenberg believes will give teams fits.

“If we play the way we want to play, we really have to get after people,” Hilgenberg said. “I want to make this game fun and to me, that is being able to press and get up and down the floor without a whole lot of restrictions on the kids. We’re depending heavily on everybody who dresses for the varsity game.”

Bolden leads a group of newcomers who all will likely be a part of the Redskins’ attack. Having played as a sophomore, he returns to help provide leadership. He will also join Rizer, Cognion and sophomore Dylan Brown on the wing.

Backing Corder and Blake at the guards are sophomores Damon Miller, Sam Magness, Patrick Brouse and Jim Magness. 

“As hard as we play, I don’t think we have a kid who can play 32 minutes at our pace,” said Hilgenberg. “We’re going to play a lot of kids but they will only play if they play hard. If we have to play seven kids, we’ll play seven. If somebody decides to take a playoff, he’s basically throwing the rest of the team under the bus.”

Offensively, Hilgenberg said the team will benefit from a balanced attack.

“A lot of it is going to be getting consistent balanced scoring from the kids who get minutes,” he said. “We need a couple averaging 10 to 12 points a game and everyone else between 4 and 8 and we’ll be successful.

“If one person on this team is averaging 25 points a night, I don’t think we’ll be very successful. That means we’re not sharing the ball and that we’re doing a lot standing around.

“I’m really happy with the way our seniors are being good leaders and role models for the kids. We’re definitely an inexperienced team, but the kids put in some quality time in the off season. I like my team. If we were going to have an inexperienced team, this is the year to have it.”

The Redskins open their season with back-to-back games Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 inside the Wigwam, taking on East Knox and Hiland.

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Category: High School, Sports

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