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Hoops team hopeful

BAY KELLEY, Sierra Sun

Before its first game of the season against the Dayton Dust Devils Tuesday, the Tahoe-Truckee Wolverines’ basketball team demonstrated the full range of its ability to first year head coach Mark Gray.

“The good team is an excellent ball club,” said Gray, “but they’re not always the good team. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Gray was named the Nevada boys’ basketball coach of the year last year after advancing the Rite of Passage Rams to the zones for the first time in the school’s 3A history. Moving his coaching to Truckee, Gray adopted a Wolverine team that advanced all the way to the semifinals, but was eliminated by the Moapa Valley Pirates, 63-33.

Several players are returning from last year’s team, including the Wolverine’s star big man, Mark Logan.

“I think Mark’s probably the best player in the state,” Gray said. “He’s got a total game. He makes the game look really easy.”

Described by Gray as the team’s best ball handler, Logan will be playing as a guard. Defensively, Logan will be responsible for guarding the post.

“We’ve got 10 guys that could play on anyone’s team,” Gray said. “I usually play hard way eight or nine, but this year I’ve got 10 guys that can really go.”

Mark Thiel is another starter for Truckee.

“I asked Mark how many points he averaged per game last season and he said 12 or 14,” said Gray. “You need to average 18 starting this year, I told him.”

Thiel is a “big asset to the team,” according to Gray, whose strengths include offensive rebounding and and making shots under the basket.

Andy Bergstrom will be starting as the team’s center with Peter Kennelly serving as the another guard.

“Kennelly is our best passer,” Gray said, “and he plays really tough defense.”

Mike McClendon will be playing point guard. McClendon is described by Gray as being the team’s best defensive player who will be used a lot for the full court press.

Talking about depth on the team, Gray said that all the players on the team play with about the same ability – Logan being an exception.

Coming off the bench will be Carson Specht, David Larson, Josh Maehler, Jesse Owen and Greg Gadsby.

“Either Specht or Larson is the fastest player on the team,” Gray said. “Specht is a good athlete and he works hard. Larson is good at getting open and knows what to do with the ball when he gets it.”

Mahler is a senior who is playing his first year on the team. Gadsby is a freshmen who bypassed JV play entirely.

“[Gadsby] is going to be a good player,” Gray said, “If not, he wouldn’t have made the team. The kid can really shoot.”

Owen, described as being “very aggressive,” has been nicknamed “the enforcer” by Gray.

“Our goal, right now, is to win the first ten games of the season,” Gray said.

The Wolverines’ defeated the Dayton Dust Devils on Tuesday night, 80-65, in the first game of the season.. Logan led all scorers with 37 points and Thiel scored 16.


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