REEDSPORT — Reedsport boys basketball coach Allen Chaney is eager to see his team in action.
He’s not concerned about how the Brave might be, but rather excited to see how much the players have improved. That’s because he has all five starters back from last winter, though one, his son Marc, is sidelined with a knee injury.
“Our situation is pretty good,” Chaney said. “Any time, regardless of the rest of the league, you’ve got your five starters back, that’s a positive thing.”
Last year, the Brave finished 10-12 overall and 4-6 in league play. Among the losses were close defeats at both Bandon and Toledo, the two teams that finished first and second in the league standings. Toledo finished 10-0 and Bandon 8-2. Reedsport tied for third with Gold Beach at 4-6.
It’s not just that Reedsport has all the starters back that excites Chaney. It’s that the players have committed themselves to improving.
“In the last year or two, these boys have started to play more basketball,” he said. “That is going to really show this year.
“Usually in past years, basketball was the third of the three sports. It was baseball and football and then basketball is the sport they played in between. Especially last year, after the basketball season was over and on into baseball, the boys were in the gym playing basketball a lot more than they ever have.”
In addition to Marc Chaney, the returning starters are fellow seniors Korde Parmenter and Tyreece Gardner and sophomore posts Javier Analco and Dallas McGill.
Junior Leo Voepel, one of the team’s top reserves last year, also is back, and Reedsport got another bonus with the return of Griffin Lavigne, who took last season off from basketball.
“That is a huge plus for us,” Allen Chaney said. “He’s a great athlete. He’s so coachable. He learns quick. Having a junior athlete coming back should be a big plus.”
Junior Michael Stanley played some varsity last year and will be part of a group of players who will swing between the varsity and junior varsity squad, also including juniors AJ Stoltey and Kyle Barnes and sophomore Jacob Chaney, the coach’s younger son.
Swinging the players is necessary since there are only 18 players in the program, Allen Chaney said.
“I wish we had more boys out,” he said.
But he can’t help but be excited about the players he has, especially since Reedsport had just one senior — Tucker Anderson — last winter.
“We have the same group as last year,” he said. “They’re just a year older.”
Chaney will be patient, though, with his son Marc, who is recovering from a knee injury suffered during football season.
“He will miss a couple of weeks of games,” Chaney said. “If he were to start too early, it might nag him all season long. We’ve got to get him healed up so he’s ready for league.”
Even without Marc Chaney, the first two weeks of practice went well, Allen Chaney said.
“When we started practice, there was a nice improvement in skill,” he said. “I know it’s because they are playing more basketball.”
Reedsport starts the season on Wednesday, Nov. 29, with a game at Elkton, and plays its home opener Friday against Oakland.
The Brave have a mix of games in the preseason against strong Class 3A programs and Class 1A schools.
“Obviously you want to get a good start,” Chaney said. “The nonleague schedule really needs to be a lot of good learning and growth in preparation for your league.
“These early games will help me see just what kind of improvement we have made and what we still need to do to be prepared for our league.”