CARSON CITY — The Carson City-Crystal Eagles are off to one of their better starts in recent years.
At 2-2 overall, there is room for improvement, but the Eagles are hoping momentum from a last-second win at Belding carries over to today and the new year.
“We hope to make the Belding game a stepping stone,” Eagles coach Ryan Fritz said. “The last couple minutes of the game we played pretty well. We showed signs of it this year, playing well, but we have gone back and forth.”
So far, the Eagles have alternated losses and victories in their first four games. The Eagles will be shooting for their first winning streak today when they face Central Montcalm at Shepherd as part of an annual holiday tournament.
Fritz said defense is his team’s key to playing well.
“I think we play better defense when we are playing well,” Fritz said. “Obviously, if the other team doesn’t score you have a better chance to win.
“And then rebounding, which is finishing a defensive possession and executing on the offensive end,” he added.
In terms of the offense, the Eagles prefer to work inside-out.
“We have to get the ball inside to our big fellas. Then we can work from an inside-out standpoint,” Fritz said. “We don’t need to force shots, but need to run the offense, being patient and understanding what kind of looks we want to get.”
The win over Belding came courtesy of two late game three-pointers by senior Maxxton Jolls. The final one gave the Eagles a 47-46 win on Dec. 20.
Fritz is hoping the win improves the confidence of the team as they move forward.
“I think it will. We had a couple of days off during the break,” he said. “We came back to work yesterday (Monday) and the kids wanted to practice and were ready to go. They were a little out of shape, but they were ready to go.”
Winning has improved the atmosphere at practice. In recent years, the Eagles have been winless during Christmas break.
“A couple of the guys came up to me and said it’s so much more fun being 2-2 at the break instead of the last couple of years,” Fritz said. “We are 2-2, but we are winning ball games and we are in ball games.”
Fritz said winning is contagious. Building a winning culture has been a goal of all Eagles coaches, from Jason Gray in footbal, Travis Wilcox in baseball, Kacy Datema in wrestling to Larry Farmer in girls basketball.
Farmer has his team 6-0 overall. The girls success is another rallying point for the Eagles boys.
“I think it’s a culture thing if your teams are winning,” Fritz said. “It’s fun to see somebody in your school having success. The wrestlers are doing well, the girls are doing well and the boys are having a better season. It’s an infectious thing when your team wins.”
The Eagles face Central Montcalm today at 2 p.m. today and will host Dansville when the season resumes after break on Jan. 6.