Wolverines navigating a broken road
Published 1:27 pm Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The Wolverines imagined a smoother road at the beginning of the season. With three starters returning from a team that made it to the Western Regional semifinals in Winston-Salem last season, everything seemed to be set for another deep run in the playoffs.
But now that road has been completely thrown off course.
Since the new year began, the Wolverines have a new coach, a starter has transferred and two more starters have been shelved due to season-ending injuries.
For seniors Matt Sierk and Josh Twitty, this is not the way the season was expected to go.
Sierk and Twitty are the only two remaining starters from the start of the season. Kamron Kerr and Andrew Harding are nursing injuries and will only return if the Wolverines can make a big push in the playoffs. Colin Sekal transferred and will be finishing his season at Veritas Christian Academy.
From the outside, fans and the community might expect the Wolverines to be reeling and in a state of chaos.
After all, the Wolverines are just 1-6 since the injuries and the firing of head coach Scott Sekal took place.
But looks can be deceiving, Twitty said.
&dquo;On the outside, it might look like chaos, but as far as on the team, we&squo;re past it,&dquo; the star swingman said.
The two seniors have been a major part in the transition beyond the chaos, Doug Campbell, who will be finishing out the season as head coach, said.
&dquo;They could&squo;ve easily written off (the season) and folded up, but I&squo;ve been real pleased with how they&squo;ve handled it,&dquo; Campbell said.
On the day the team found out about Sekal&squo;s firing, Polk principal Aaron Greene and athletic director Jeff Wilson talked to the team.
Afterward, Twitty and Sierk asked them to leave for a players only meeting.
&dquo;We told them that it wasn&squo;t going to be easy, but we still have to go on,&dquo; Twitty said.
Going on meant a lot of changes for the team and the two remaining preseason starters left.
For Twitty and Sierk, a teaching role was needed. The two have worked with the rising junior varsity players.
But for Twitty, his role is to continue to score points for the Wolverines. He&squo;s leading the way for Polk this season with 18.5 points per game.
For Sierk, he had to expand his role a bit. With scoring threats like Twitty, Kerr and Sekal in the past, he could look to pass more.
Now, he&squo;s got to be a little more aggressive on the offensive toward the rim.
&dquo;Basically, I&squo;ve had to step up and be more of a scorer than a passer lately,&dquo; Sierk said.
That&squo;s not to say that he&squo;s abandoned dishing the rock.
&dquo;You just have to involve everybody and they&squo;ll start playing better,&dquo; he said. &dquo;It gets their confidence up and the team&squo;s confidence up.&dquo;
But for Twitty, Sierk and the rest of the team, it&squo;s business as usual, Twitty said.
&dquo;We are still a basketball team and we still have a shot at winning some games,&dquo; he said.
What do they have to do to win some more games this season?
&dquo;With the team we have right now, if we play solid basketball, we can beat anybody and that&squo;s how we feel,&dquo; Sierk said.
While they may be traveling on a broken road, the Wolverines are hoping that the road will lead them deep into the playoffs.
Polk hosts Swain tonight at 7 p.m.&bsp; in the first round of the state playoffs.