Wildcats hope to use physical play in 2016-17 season
November 18, 2016
When comparing football to basketball, the former is typically viewed as the more physical of the two different sports. That said, there's a certain level of toughness and physicality that can transfer from the gridiron to the hardwood.
Knowing that, South Summit High School boys' basketball Head Coach Dusty Hatch has a roster that boasts a handful of players on the football team, which completed its season just last week in the UHSAA 2A championship game. Hatch believes the Wildcats' physical nature will lead them to a strong season in Region 16.
"We like to pride ourselves in playing tough defense and we are a physical team," Hatch said. "Most of my guys are football players first. … We play a physical type of man-to-man defense."
One of those football players is Nick Beasley, who just finished up his prep football career last weekend as the team's star quarterback. Now that the seasons have changed, he'll take his talents to the court. Leader of the basketball team, Beasley is in a role similar as the point guard to the one he had when playing football.
"Surprisingly, he's our point guard," Hatch said of Beasley. "He's probably 6-foot-3. He's one of the taller kids on our team, but he is our point guard. … He really lends a lot to our team. He's a good point guard, he scores the ball well and puts a lot of pressure on the defense."
Being taller than most point guards in 2A, Beasley has an easier time driving into the lane and finishing over smaller defenders. He also knows when to dish when it's necessary, providing scoring and passing threats at the point guard position that has become increasingly popular in today's game.
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Beasley is currently dealing with myriad injuries sustained through the football season, specifically last Saturday's title game, but Hatch expects him to be back after Thanksgiving break. When he does return, he'll have an instant, positive impact for the Wildcats.
However, South Summit is far from in trouble with Beasley out until after the November holiday. The team returns two other starters from last year's squad in Kaden Atkinson and Jason McNeil, as well as a good mix of young talent and size, to help keep the team afloat until Beasley returns.
The most important aspect of the team, though, is the players' willingness to work together as a unit to get better, and enjoy it.
"We have a good bench," Hatch said. "We haven't had much size in the past, but we've got a couple of big guys. And we shoot the ball fairly well. Our chemistry is very good, which is an improvement. It's refreshing as a coach when you have kids that like to play together."
Last season, the Wildcats saw their season end in the state quarterfinals in an overtime loss to Beaver. They finished the season in third place in Region 16, just behind North Summit and a few games behind the Summit Academy Bears, the 3A state champion last season.
However, with the Bears losing players to graduation (although, Hatch said that happened in-between seasons last year, too), the South Summit head coach believes both his team, as well as North Summit's, have the opportunity to dethrone the reigning champs.
"I do feel like they're probably our toughest competition," Hatch said of Summit Academy. "I do feel like our region is always tough. There's always good competition within our region. … I think that [North Summit, South Summit and Summit Academy] will probably be at the top of the region."
The Wildcats will tip off their season on Nov. 22 against Tabiona from South Summit High School at 7 p.m.
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