There isn’t much wiggle room for Weigle’s bunch.
Biglerville boys’ basketball coach Neil Weigle embarks on his second season at his alma mater with a young roster that must replace roughly half of its offensive production from a year ago. With a less little firepower at their disposal, the Canners are going to have to get dirty on the defensive end of the floor in order to be successful.
“You can always have a bad offensive night but you should never have a bad defensive night,” he said. “We have to do the small things because there is very little margin for error. We have to box out, get every loose ball and take care of the basketball. We have to show heart and be able to make stops.”
Defense was a bit of a bugaboo last season when Biglerville yielded 57 points per game as it won just four times in 22 outings. Tightening things up won’t come by virtue of a singular scheme as Weigle expects his team to adapt to opponents’ strengths on a given night.
“Our numbers are down in general but we have to play as many kids as we can that are ready to play,” he said. “One game it may be quick, another game slow it down and try to win 22-20. It just depends on who we’re playing.
“We have three seniors, and only one with significant playing time last year. We have sophomores and freshmen that have to play so we want to see them grow and be ready for next year.”
A constant for the Canners last season was the scoring of Drew Parker, who dropped 13.8 points per night as a junior. Parker reached double figures in 19 of 22 games with a season-high 22 points against Susquehannock. The 6-foot-3 senior is know for his deft touch from mid-range but believes he brings a more well-rounded game to the court this winter.
“I definitely feel more confident in my shooting, I put up a lot of shots in the offseason,” he said. “My off-dribble game should be better too, and I’ve worked on ball handling and getting to the basket.”
Junior Eli Weigle should share some of the scoring load with Parker after averaging nine points per game last season. Weigle, the coach’s son, drained 31 3-pointers and had a streak of five straight games in double figures.
“In order for us to be successful Drew and Eli have to have the ball in their hands at some point, not that they need to take every shot,” Neil Weigle said. “The offense runs through them but hopefully the underclassmen step up and make shots.”
Gone to graduation is flashy point guard Jorge Cervantes (14.5 points per game) and steady Colby Martin (6.2 ppg), meaning additional scoring options must emerge. Six-foot-four junior Brady Salter will provide some size on the inside and sophomore Cam Tyson could provide an additional outside threat. Neil Weigle said sophomores Lukas Smelser and Caden Althoff have been impressive in the brief preseason and should see signification floor time.
Senior Ben Wicker and freshman Nolan Miller are also expected to be regular contributors.
Even with a number of uncertainties on the offensive end to begin the season, Parker said he doesn’t plan to throw up an array of ill-timed shots.
“Inevitably a lot of the offense will go through us,” Parker said, referring to himself and Eli Weigle. “The two most experienced players will get the most touches but I don’t want to get into forcing things.”
Biglerville, with just 11 players on its roster, will not play JV games for at least the first week of the season according to its coach. The Canners won’t have much time to acclimate first-year varsity players either, as they head to Hanover today for a YAIAA-4 clash. The division appears to deep this season with plenty of capable returners on each team.
“It’s going to be tough,” admitted Parker. “Every team in the league has talent and something to offer. It’ll be tough but we can compete in a lot of games if we play good defense.”