Century’s basketball team is coming off a season where it finished .500. Now, the Patriots are looking to turn the page and approach the game with a new look.
“Last year’s season kind of left a bad taste in our mouth, so we’re ready to get back this year and kind of prove ourselves again, and find that new identity to make sure that we’re ready for this season,” senior Ian Ely said.
Coach Darin Mattern’s teams always fall back on defense, but after finishing second to last in scoring in the WDA last season the Patriots are putting a premium on offense.
“You know, I think we’re going to try to get out and run,” Ely said. “We’ve got fast guys on the team. Kind of get out and play a little more loose than last year. Last year we struggled to score a little bit, and this year we hope we’ve got some more scorers.”
The scoring starts with Ian Ely. He’s a two year starter who is part of a small senior class. The Patriots will also rely on Justice Coleman, who missed the majority of last season with a knee injury.
Pairing the two seniors’ shooting ability with the size of a few underclassmen could be the winning formula.
“You’ve got to have inside-outside balance,” Mattern said. “That’s going to be an emphasis early. I think we’ve got to be able to score around the basket, because you have to be able to get some easy baskets in this game. Then obviously you have to have some guys that can shoot it, and I think this is a team we’ve got several guys that can shoot the basketball from the perimeter.”
“Because of that length we can exploit that,” senior Justice Coleman said. “Get to the rim more, get to the foul line, create more opportunities.”
With a new identity, the Patriots believe they can create a new opportunity to return to their third state title game in five seasons.
The Patriots open their season on December 18 against Watford City.