Truckee boys’ basketball preview: New season, new coach, new hope | SierraSun.com

Truckee boys’ basketball preview: New season, new coach, new hope

Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra SunTruckee head coach Keith Crawford watches his Wolverines in the first game of the season on Nov. 30. So far, there is mutual respect between the first-year coach and his players.
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So far, there is a little more love floating around this year’s Truckee Wolverines boys’ basketball team. That wasn’t the case for a team that finished eighth in the Northern 3A (4-12, 7-20) last season under head coach Josh Jansen, who resigned shortly after the season ended.

“There wasn’t really a bond there,” said senior post player Jamie Maehler. “It was like the coach was set away from his players. It wasn’t like a family; like a team, like we are in football. It just seemed like there were a bunch of individuals out there on the basketball court.”

New head coach Keith Crawford ” the third in three seasons at Truckee ” is working initially to strengthen that bond this season. Crawford’s easy-going approach to the job seems to appeal to the team.

“He’s a real positive guy,” Maehler said. “He’s pretty laid back, but he knows how to get us going.”

On Crawford’s end, he said he’s insistent on keeping the lines of communication open the entire season.

“I preach to them every day, ‘Guys, if you feel like you’re losing respect for me, please let me know,'” said the 32-year-old coach, who is originally from Huntsville, Texas. “Because I’m not doing my job (if that’s the case). The respect factor is sky high.”

This is Crawford’s first head coaching job. For the last three years he was an assistant at Hug High School for two and Sparks High School for one. Before that, Crawford coached at Feather River College for three successful years ” the team won more than 20 games each year.

“He definitely knows what he’s talking about,” Maehler said. “If we listen to him, everything is going to work out.”

A major aspect in Crawford’s favor is a more optimistic outlook in the Northern 3A with Bishop Manogue (now in Northern 4A) and Rite of Passage (now in Northern 2A) now out of the picture. Last year, the two teams combined for 28 wins in league, and ROP defeated Moapa Valley for the Nevada 3A state championship title.

Crawford said he views Lowry as the team to beat in 2004, but the key to making the playoffs will be how quickly Truckee can come together after 10 out of 16 players missed the first week of basketball practice because Truckee was wrapping up its 3A state championship football season.

“We’re capable (of making the playoffs), but it’s a timing thing,” Crawford said. “I’ve had those football guys for six days. I tell them, ‘That same competitive drive that you had that won you a 3A state football championship, I want you to bring that drive on the basketball court.'”

Maehler, who was the starting wingback on the football team, admitted that’s a difficult thing to do ” right away, at least.

“I wish I could’ve taken a week vacation, but basketball is one of my favorite sports,” he said. “You make that transition the best you can. Basketball is a lot different than football.”

The team’s rustiness on the court showed in its season-opening, 56-26 loss to Hug on Nov. 30. But Crawford stressed he’s not using football as an excuse.

“Once the ball is thrown up and we have referees out there and the lights on, there’s a basketball game that has to be played,” he said. “We haven’t had enough time together. You give me two more weeks with these guys, and we’re going to be clicking on all cylinders.”

With four players on the roster at 6-foot-4 or taller, Crawford expects Truckee’s size to be an advantage in 3A competition.

“By the time the Northern 3A schedule starts, I want the big guys to be effective,” he said. “Right now, they’re kind of tentative and don’t know what moves to make.”

Besides a possible size advantage in league, Crawford said a consistent lineup is key to the Wolverines’ success. Last season, Jansen experimented with various starting lineups all the way until the end of the season.

“It’s a tough decision, but if we’re going to do what’s best for Truckee basketball, we have to go with an eight- or nine-man rotation,” Crawford said. “And we’re going to have to stick with it. My (starting) five is pretty set.”

Against Hug, Crawford started sophomore guard Drew Stewart (who came on strong at the end of last season), seniors Paul Tierney, John Hooper, Mike Hoopingarner and Maehler. Crawford said he will occasionally start Kyle Steverman ” the tallest player on the team at 6-foot-6 ” as the season progresses.

“With those guys on the court, I feel leadership and I feel comfortable that they know what’s going on,” Crawford said. “You don’t want to see a lot of changes in the lineup.”

The season is long, however, and Crawford knows that changes are almost inevitable, especially with the possibility of injury. But Crawford knows success starts with hard work.

“If you don’t give 100 percent in practice, it makes it that much tougher during the games,” he said. “When I make substitutions, they have to understand that there can’t be any drop (in quality of play).”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Truckee defeated Quincy 59-53 for its first win of the season on Thursday night (Dec. 2). On Friday night, Truckee defeated Portola 79-61 to improve its record to 2-1. A 46-26 loss to Lassen on Saturday evened Truckee’s record at 2-2.

The games were part of the Quincy High “Tip-Off” Tournament that ran through Saturday, Dec. 4 (schedule below).

-2003 NORTHERN 3A STANDINGS

Boys’ basketball

Team League All

Manogue 15-1 25-6

Rite of Passage 13-3 24-6

Lowry 9-7 14-13

Dayton 8-8 14-14

Fernley 8-8 12-13

Yerington 7-9 17-14

North Tahoe 5-11 7-17

Truckee 4-12 7-20

Spring Creek 3-13 6-20

*Sparks — 13-14

*Sparks played as independent

-2004 NORTHERN 3A BOYS’ LEAGUE

Truckee

Spring Creek

Yerington

Dayton

Fernley

Sparks

North Tahoe

Incline

Lowry

Day Date Opponent Time/result Record

Tues. Nov. 30 vs. Hug L, 56-26 0-1

Thurs. Dec. 2 *@ Quincy W, 59-53 1-1

Fri. Dec. 3 *vs. Portola W, 79-61 2-1

Sat. Dec. 4 *vs. Lassen L, 46-26 2-2

Tues. Dec. 7 @ Pyramid Lake 7:30 p.m.

Th.-Sa. Dec. 9-11 @ Portola Tournament TBA

Wed. Dec. 15 @ North Tahoe 7:30 p.m.

Fri. Dec. 17 vs. Yerington 7:30 p.m.

Sat. Dec. 18 @ Fernley 3:30 p.m.

Tues. Dec. 21 @ Incline 7:30 p.m.

Fri. Jan. 7 vs. Incline 7:30 p.m.

Sat. Jan. 8 @ Dayton 3:30 p.m.

Tues. Jan. 11 vs. Quincy 7:30 p.m.

Fri. Jan. 14 @ Yerington 7:30 p.m.

Sat. Jan. 15 vs. Sparks 3:30 p.m.

Fri. Jan. 21 @ Lowry 7:30 p.m.

Sat. Jan. 22 @ Spring Creek 3:30 p.m.

Wed. Jan. 26 vs. Dayton 7:30 p.m.

Fri. Jan. 28 @ Sparks 7:30 p.m.

Fri. Feb. 4 vs. Fernley 7:30 p.m.

Wed. Feb. 9 vs. North Tahoe 7:30 p.m.

Fri. Feb. 11 vs. Lowry 7:30 p.m.

Sat. Feb. 12 vs. Spring Creek 3:30 p.m.

Th.-Sa. Feb. 17-19 Northern 3A tournament TBA

Th.-Sa. Feb. 24-26 3A State Championship TBA

*Quincy “Tip-Off” Tournament

-Quincy High School “Tip-Off” Tournament schedule

-Varsity schedule: (All Upper Gym)

Thursday, Dec. 2

5:30 p.m. Portola vs. Lassen

7 p.m. Truckee 59, Quincy 53

Friday, Dec. 3

7 p.m. Truckee 79, Portola 61

8:30 p.m. Quincy vs. Lassen

Saturday, Dec. 4

12:30 p.m. Lassen 46, Truckee 26

2 p.m. Quincy vs. Portola

-Junior varsity schedule

Thursday, Dec. 2

5:30 p.m. Quincy vs. Truckee (Lower Gym)

7 p.m. Portola vs. Lassen (Lower Gym)

Friday, Dec. 3

4 p.m. Portola vs. Truckee (Upper Gym)

5:30 p.m. Quincy vs. Lassen (Upper Gym)

Saturday, Dec. 4

12:30 p.m. Quincy vs. Portola (Lower Gym)

2 p.m. Truckee vs. Lassen (Lower Gym)

Day Date Opponent Time/result Record

Tues. Nov. 30 vs. Hug L, 45-40 0-1

Thurs. Dec. 2 *@ Quincy 5:30 p.m.

Fri. Dec. 3 *vs. Portola 4 p.m.

Sat. Dec. 4 *vs. Lassen 2 p.m.

Tues. Dec. 7 @ Pyramid Lake 4:30 p.m.

Wed. Dec. 15 @ North Tahoe 4:30 p.m.

Fri. Dec. 17 vs. Yerington 4:30 p.m.

Sat. Dec. 18 @ Fernley 12:30 p.m.

Tues. Dec. 21 @ Incline 4:30 p.m.

Fri. Jan. 7 vs. Incline 4:30 p.m.

Sat. Jan. 8 @ Dayton 12:30 p.m.

Tues. Jan. 11 vs. Quincy 4:30 p.m.

Fri. Jan. 14 @ Yerington 4:30 p.m.

Sat. Jan. 15 vs. Sparks 12:30 p.m.

Fri. Jan. 21 @ Lowry 4:30 p.m.

Sat. Jan. 22 @ Spring Creek 12:30 p.m.

Wed. Jan. 26 vs. Dayton 4:30 p.m.

Fri. Jan. 28 @ Sparks 4:30 p.m.

Fri. Feb. 4 vs. Fernley 4:30 p.m.

Wed. Feb. 9 vs. North Tahoe 4:30 p.m.

Fri. Feb. 11 vs. Lowry 4:30 p.m.

Sat. Feb. 12 vs. Spring Creek 4:30 p.m.