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Season Preview

Boys prepare for tough league foes


For most coaches and players the first two weeks of basketball season are the longest two weeks of their lives, usually, they just can’t wait for games to start, this time can’t end soon enough.

Paola Panther Boys Head Coach Dave Cash finds himself in exactly the opposite position this year. With one week down and one week of practice to go, Cash would gladly put off that first game for a couple more weeks if he could.

“We’re still learning,” Cash said. “ We’ve added some new sets out of our motion offense, as we haven’t quite gotten them yet.”

“The guys are thinking instead of playing,” he continued. “But, they’re making good effort, they’ll get it.”

Cash terms this year’s team as a “work in progress,” saying that the whole team is in a “learning process,” involving not only the new offensive sets, but finding out what each players role will be.

“We have a good core of seniors,” Cash said. “But we’re going to be young, for us to build any depth our sophomores are going to have to step in and give us some quality playing time.”

When assessing the Frontier League, Cash had one word and that was “big”. Cash singled out Gardner, DeSoto, and Baldwin as teams to beat in his opinion. He called the Gardner squad “good and solid,” and said that Baldwin would be “big.”

“All three of those teams will be solid,” Cash said. “But the league as a whole will be good this year.”

One thing that is scary for the Panthers heading into this season, is the fact that, in a league that has some dominate post players, the Panthers have an obvious lack of a “big man.”

Conversely, the Panthers are not overly small, and while the Panthers can’t boast any players that will tower above the competition, they will field a team that will have five players that play at or above the six foot level.

“We’re going to have to get the ball out an push the floor to be competitive,” Cash said. “Our size will give us the ability to set up and pressure the ball, we’re going to have to press more.”

“We do have some depth going for us,” Cash continued. “ We have a bunch of kids that are working hard, and our quality of play won’t drop off much as we substitute. That will allow us to get out and run.”

But, in order to play a fast paced, up and down the floor game, a team must be in peak physical condition. With the installation of the new offensive sets, Cash as not had as much time to work on the conditioning as he would have liked, but he said that facet of the game would get more work in the coming week.

“We’re not in as good a shape as we need to be,” he said. “We’re having to stop things and do a lot of talking, a lot of teaching, there’s not been enough of the kids getting up and down the floor.”

“That will slow down some next week,” he continued. “The more they grasp the offense, the less we’ll (the coaches) have to stop the flow of practice.”

Like it or not, Cash and the Panthers will have to take the floor on December eighth, as they open the season at home in tournament play against Turner. It’s a challenge that Cash is ready to take on.

“We have a good group of guys,” he concluded. “We’re going to be young, but I really like them.”