Talon News - Good Local News

TIGER BASKETBALL REBUILDING

 

November 30, 2018



by David Edward Albright, TALON

With only one returning starter, junior point-guard Gabe Wood, the Aztec High Tigers will quickly discover if they have the components to improve on a slightly below .500 season last year. They had 12 wins, 12 losses and a loss in the playoffs. TALON spoke with third-year head coach, Matthew Steinfeldt the day before their season-opener versus Navajo Prep at the Shiprock Invitational Tournament on Thursday, November 29 at 1:30pm.

A very busy teacher-coach, Steinfeldt moved quickly from the football field to the basketball court with little break this year. Of his point guard, key position on any team, Steinfeldt said, "He's a great leader---he did a great job with the boys in the off-season too." We will soon see which young players will step up and be able to put the ball in the basket.

"Every year is extremely challenging regarding expectations in terms of wins and losses---because we're unsure of what we really have," Coach Steinfeldt said when asked about the upcoming season. "I think we have pieces of the program but it's going to be a lot of inexperience...so it's really going to be dictated by how those guys grow up this first half of the season," he shared. With so many sophomores and juniors, the proof of team talent rests in their ability to adapt to game pressure. Team height this year will be about the same as last year.

The coach is expecting a strong performance from their first opponent, with Navajo Prep returning three experienced guards. "They're predicted to be at the top of their district...they have a pretty good ball club," he said. "I think it will be a great benchmark for us to kind of see where we're at."

Offensively, the Tigers will use some set plays but "for the most part we're a motion offense", Coach said. Defense will likely be balanced between man-to-man and zone, as it was last year---depending on the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent. Starting lineup for the first contest was still being finalized when we spoke.

With little practice and preparation time this season, the test for a young basketball team is even greater. "It's been a funky year---so they pushed back our start date this year---by two weeks...we only have nine days before we play a game...it's been a roller coaster. And mind you, seven of those days have been over Thanksgiving break," Steinfeldt said. The team practiced every day, including Thanksgiving Day.

The roster for 2018-19 Tiger Boys Basketball: (by name/grade-position/height)---Mikey Phillips/Sr-G/5'-11"; Jake Feil/Sr-G/5'-11"; Gabe Wood/Jr-G/5'-11"; Brian Tapia/So-G/5'-7"; Tanner Brooks/Sr-F/6'-4"; Dylan Olson/Sr-G/5'-10"; Cody Smith/Sr-F/6'-1"; Sterlin Hamblin/Sr-F/6-0'; Trevor Walker/Sr-C/6'-5"; Nehemiah Dee/Sr-G/5'-9"; Dom Faverino/So-F/6'-5"; Javier Valenzuela/So-G/5'-9"; Chad Hill/Jr-F/6'-3" and Logan Frost/Jr/6'-1".

Have a great season, Tigers!

 

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