After going 5-16 in the 2008-09 season, the Marion High School boys basketball team is looking to rebound this year.
Second-year head coach Jeff McMillin believes that the Warriors should be a disciplined and more controlled group in the second year of his system.
“You should see improvement in several areas of program development,” he said, “such as ball control, team defense, and rebounding.”
The Warriors first unit should have plenty of experience to draw on: McMillin has the opportunity to start five seniors. Senior forwards Eric Vogel, Isaac Hett, and Wil Case will man the post, while guards Drew Maddox and Mitch Cady operate on the perimeter.
Eric Vogel returns to try to improve on a breakout junior season last year. Vogel is the only returning Warrior who averaged double-digit points last year, including a 23-point effort against Hillsboro in a sub-state match. He was also the Warriors top rebounder, averaging nearly seven a game.
However, Vogel will have more of the scoring responsibility on his shoulders with Elliot Hett and Luke Gordon both lost to graduation.
A strength the Warriors won’t possess is height. Vogel, Hett, and sophomore post player Scott Jones are the tallest returning Marion players at 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3, and 6-foot-2, respectively.
What they lack in height, the Marion post players make up with quickness and athleticism, which should be an advantage against more methodical offensive teams.
McMillin is also concerned with the team’s outside shooting ability. For the Warriors to effectively score, they will need to run a smart, unselfish, and hard working offense that allows players to get easy looks.
If Marion struggles to score, the Warriors will need to play stifling defense that creates turnovers. But, with the lack of a dominant post presence, Marion will also have to block out with precision to gather loose rebounds.
Compounding matters, the five seniors who could start are the only seniors on the team. Also, The Mid-Central Activities Association schedule proves to be tough every year.
Last year’s team had a .500 record entering January, but was subsequently chewed up in the teeth of their conference schedule.