Youthful Flames Get Ready For Season Opener

  • 11/24/2016 10:48:23 AM
  • Jeff Alan
  • Local Sports

Mansfield, OH-  To say the Mansfield Christian boys basketball team will be young this year is a bit of an understatement.  After losing seven lettermen to graduation, head coach John Kurtz will be leaning on his three returning players from a year ago to help get his team up to speed before the season begins next Friday.

"We lost seven seniors so we have a big void there, but we have Jared Mc Peek, Kyle Kurtz, and J.P. Trueblood back and all three played extensively last year.  We do have experience back but as I said we lost a lot of seniors."

One of the veterans J.P. Trueblood, says the pace of the game will be much different for the guys coming up.  "I think the majority of it is just the speed of the game.  Coming from junior high school it's so much different especially with a lot of these 8th graders going to varsity with no in between.  So I just try to help them know how hard you have to play and how fast you have to think."

"I think it's important for us juniors and seniors to stay focused on them," says junior Kyle Kurtz.  To understand that they are inexperienced and we have to stay calm and just work with them so they can understand what they are doing."

"So far there has been a lot of mentoring with the young kids," says coach Kurtz.  "They have been very receptive to that.  So we really like the chemistry that we have going.  But when you get in games those young kids are gonna make mistakes and we have asked our experienced kids to be a little forgiving and understanding, but so far so good."

"We're gonna start the year and we are gonna be fighting and figuring a lot of stuff out about what type of talent we have and who is going to be playing in crunch time," says Trueblood.  "So I think midway through the year we will be looking to find our identity as a team and try to build momentum from there on."

The Flames will open with a double next Friday and Saturday when they travel to North Robinson, Ohio to take on Colonel Crawford, then come back home to face Clear Fork.  For the Flames, Kurtz knows it will be baptism under fire.  "That is one rough way to start and we've told our kids in the little bit of preseason that we have had that we start with two tough opponents.  So we don't want to lose our confidence, but we also know we have two teams that a very good."  

A year ago, the Flames stopped Clear Fork 62-49 in Bellville but fell to the Eagles on the road 51-41.  

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