HOWARD CITY — The Tri County Vikings boys basketball team put together one of the best seasons in school history last year.
The Vikings finished the 2010-2011 season with a 17-7 overall record. They won the school’s first district title in 24 years and led the Class B runner-up Muskegon Heights Tigers at halftime in the regional semifinals.
This year’s Tri County team will feature plenty of underclassmen and a new head coach in Chad Gould. Gould has spent time in freshman, junior varsity and varsity (assistant) coaching positions the past decade. Gould said he is adjusting well to the new position, but coaching is just part of the job.
“It’s more work than just coaching. It’s getting into setting up the winter youth program, dealing with the lower levels and trying to get to as many practices as possible for all levels,” he said. “I try to make it to a freshman practice once a week and a JV practice twice a week.”
With three weeks of practice nearly complete and a few scrimmages under their belt the Vikings are ready to hit the court for an actual game.
“We are ready to go. I think they are itching to play,” Gould said. “I could tell that last week at the Courthouse scrimmaging. I’m ready to get going.”
Due to graduation the Vikings feature just four returning players from last year’s team.
“We are young with four returning seniors. I also kept a senior that played for two years, but didn’t play last year,” Gould said. “I have a squad of 14 with nine juniors.”
The junior varsity team went 10-10 last season.
Gould has made some changes defensively, but plans on running the same up and down the court style previous coach Tim Kisner ran offensively. Kisner is now an assistant at Lake Superior State University.
“We will still be all man (man-to-man) defensively,” Gould said. “It’s how we apply the man is what will change. We are going to do more pressing instead of full court pick up. We will do both, though.
“Offensively, we are going to do the same thing and that’s get it and go,” he added.
It’s an offensive style players enjoy playing. Because of the quick pace it requires more substitutions and the opportunity for more playing time for others.
“They do enjoy it. It’s fun for them,” Gould said. “If you make it fun for them they will work hard for you.”
The goal for Gould is to continue improving their play on the court.
“We want to get better week by week,” he said. “I try not to put a number on it and say we would should be this. I keep telling them if we get better everyday the wins and losses take care of themselves.”
Tri County opens the season at Central Montcalm Tuesday. They will travel to Fruitport on Dec. 9.