If Marion Warriors’ first-year head coach Randy Skiles can channel his feelings about being in Marion into his team’s performance, the Warriors will be tough to beat.
“I’m excited about being in Marion,” Skiles said. “So far, it’s been a great move. This is a great district as far as having supportive administrators, great teachers, and the kids are good. Overall, I’ve been really impressed.”
That enthusiasm will work well with the brand of basketball Skiles wants to put on the court.
“We’re not going to be very big, but we’ve got kids with quickness and we’re going to run up and down the floor,” he said. “We’re going to get up and guard pretty hard. I think these guys will fit in that mold. We’re going to see how it works.”
After spending the last eight years as an administrator, Skiles is glad to be teaching and coaching again. Even with 22 years of coaching experience, however, he felt mild trepidation as practices began.
“I thought it was going to be a challenge,” he said, “but once I stepped on the floor, the love of the game just started coming back, and it didn’t feel like I’d missed anything. It’s just good to get back in the swing of things.”
Senior guards Mason Pedersen and Peyton Heidebrecht give Skiles talent and leadership to build on, and in combination with junior Zachary Stuchlik should give Marion a balanced scoring attack, he said.
That balance should put extra pressure on teams trying to defend the Warriors.
“A lot of times you go in and you’re going to be able to guard somebody’s best player, and I don’t think teams are going to be able to do that to us,” he said. “We’ll have people out there who can score.”
Junior Colin Williams and sophomores Evann Heidebrecht, Sam Zinn, Eli Hett, Noah Dalrymple, and Chase Stringer have opportunities to be major contributors as the season progresses.
“I’m really getting used to the team; I didn’t really know the kids that well,” Skiles said. “As a whole, I’ve been really impressed with their work ethic and desire to compete.”
Assistant coach Terry Edwards has been a great asset with his knowledge of the kids and 19 years of coaching in the district, Skiles said.
The Warriors will be looking to improve on last season’s 9-11 record as they hit the hardwoods Friday with a season-opening trip to Southeast of Saline.