New coach Mark Taylor has put players like Jake Sedivy in every position from center to point guard as the team tries to define roles.
Jake Sedivy, at 6 feet 3 inches, should play center on the Newbury Black Knights, and he did at the beginning of the year.
But the team lacked ball handlers, so Sedivy moved from 5 to 3, to 1.
So the Newbury center now plays point guard.
The moves Mark Taylor has made in his first year as varsity coach are entirely out of necessity, as the team has started 0-5.
Although Newbury did get its first since, a 62-32 win over Bloomfield on Dec. 16.
Taylor has inherited an inexperienced roster from three previous head coaches in the past three years. Sedivy and these Black Knights have never had a head coach for more than one season.
But there is a lot of work that’s been done to heal those wounds, Taylor said: “I love the kids’ work ethic. They bring their best every night.
“Tonight they were a little sluggish; I was a little disappointed in our effort in the first half.”
In a game played December 11, the Badger Braves battered the Black Knights with a full-court pressure that Newbury seldom broke.
It produced a disjointed offense and very few good shots.
Badger led the game 27-14 at halftime and outscored the Black Knights 14-2 to start the second half.
At that point, the game was over.
“Ball-handling and shooting is our Achilles’ heel,” said Taylor. “That can be a bad combination on some nights, especially when we’re facing full-court pressure.
“Sometimes experience is the best teacher. We have two seniors starting (Tyler Trushel and Joe Hamilton), and one returning starter. The rest of the varsity is filled with younger guys.”
Hamilton declined to be interviewed after the 54-27 loss.
But Sedivy had a lot to say.
“Some people delivered, some people didn’t,” said the junior. “We have to box out more. We have to wait for open looks. We have to play as a team.
“And I think people are almost playing selfish. We need to play as a team, practice harder and wait for the next game.”
The coach called Sedivy “our Scottie Pippin” — a fill-in-the-blanks guy who can rebound, steal and block a shot.
Sedivy said he tries to pick people up, lift hanging heads: look on the bright side, he says, focus on what’s next.
“We’ve had some problems with the press,” Taylor said. “He can do it all. Very versatile.”
Of that full-court press, Taylor added, “It’s like blood in the water. They come after you in droves.”
Taylor comes from Lakeside, a Division I school, and is trying to build a program “the right way, and put a stamp on it.”
The Badgers are a good solid team, he said. “Good size, good length, good basketball IQ. They play well together. It was their night.”
Trushel, a steady starting senior, was the second-leading scorer, averaging about 13 points a night. “He’s our emotional leader,” Taylor said. “Tonight he was just a little bit off.”
Jim Levesque, a junior, played his freshman year but missed his sophomore season with an injury. He’s still getting used to varsity speed. “I’m just waiting for him to start hitting 3’s,” said Taylor.
“I think the first half was better than the second,” said Levesque of the Badger game, also the Black Knights’ QB. “We need to cut down on turnovers. We need to swing the ball around more. It was one of those nights we couldn’t hit a shot. They just weren’t falling.
“Overall, if teams scout us and they know we can’t take pressure well — we’re going to work on that Friday.”
The Badger’s JV team defeated Newbury’s team, as well.
Photos not seen here can be viewed and purchased at http://bit.ly/leafphotos.
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