BELDING — Belding’s boys basketball team will be looking to turn around last year’s disappointing record. The Redskins were just 5-16 last season, winning two games in the O-K Blue Conference. But coach Brian Babbitt, who is in his eighth year of coaching, expects the team to “play tough defense and give it everything they got.”
Babbitt lists the team’s strengths as “athleticism, leadership and toughness.”
After losing point guard Ray Bordeaux and center Gil Corder to graduation, Babbitt has to retool the lineup.
“Five returners know what it takes and are excited to play with the newcomers,” he said, listing those five as Brendan Zuver, Dylan Hunt, Andrew Leppink, Brad Baker and Cody Saliers.
Zuver scored 14 points and had five assists in their win over Grand Rapids West Catholic last season. Hunt scored nine points and four rebounds in a game against Coopersville last year.
“Leppink held the opponents leading scorer to less than half their average in each of our last three games,” Babbitt said.
Babbitt wants to reduce turnovers, saying one of the things the Redskins can improve upon is “taking care of the ball.”
But Babbitt knows he’s going to be in a fight to compete in the Blue.
“Many talented and tough teams,” he said. “Comstock Park is going for their fourth straight conference title, Sparta is extremely talented, Cedar (Springs) returns many and had a good JV season, Forest Hills Northern returns many quick guards and a big presence inside, Coopersville has a strong core back, West Catholic returns good shooters and has some tall newcomers.”
The Redskins’ schedule begins with three straight road games, opening the season at Portland Dec. 6 before going to Greenville Dec. 9 and West Catholic Dec. 13. Then Belding will host seven straight home games, having their first game at Redskin Arena Dec. 16 against Comstock Park.