Oak Creek boys basketball team looks to take the next step
Garner will lead experienced crew into new season
Oak Creek - It'll take a little time, but an experienced Oak Creek boys basketball team will likely be taking steps up from the 8-13 mark the Knights posted last winter.
"We won't have a lot of depth to start the season and we will have some difficulties along the way because of some things," said third-year coach Mike Jossie, "but come middle of December we should have some of the kinks worked out and our rotation down. Our competitiveness this year will be based on our principals on defense and if we can score the ball."
The Knights opened the season with a 46-29 win over Milwaukee School of Languages last Friday. They will be at Brookfield East Nov. 27.
Oak Creek lost two starters to graduation, including second-team all-Southeast Conference selection Jonathan Breen (14 ppg.) but return three experienced players in 6-4 senior Terrence Garner (9 ppg. and 6 rpg.), 5-8 junior point guard Cordarius Johnson and 5-10 junior Alex Medenwaldt (10 ppg., 4 rpg.).
"Terrence (Garner) will be asked to carry the load not only in scoring but in minutes," Jossie said. "Nick Commela also returns and he is 6'5 and will be asked to be a key player in the post and in defending as well. Cordarius will lead the team in distribution, but after a great off-season, we hope he can contribute by also putting the ball in the basket.
"Chase Leonardi (6-1 senior, 6 ppg.) is our workhorse, our garbage man. He will be asked to defend the best player big or small and do everything possible."
New to the program is 5-7 freshman guard Harrison Cleary, who will be asked to step up and back up Johnson at the point and will also play the two spot, too.
"He can really shoot the ball and has a bright, bright future," Jossie said.
Also contributing this year will be senior guard Austin Hedler, senior swingman Cody Linday, and sophomore guard Cory Jackson.
Jossie said a major key to having success this winter is keeping Garner out of foul trouble.
But overall, the coach is optimistic about the season.
"This is a great group of players and parents and we look forward to working together this year," Jossie said. He said Racine Case, Horlick and Park (defending champions) will be difficult to overcome.
"How our team handles adversity along the way will determine where we fall," Jossie said. "I could see us anywhere from third to those other toss up spots. We will definitely be better one month from today and I know these young me will give me everything they have."
In the win over Milwaukee Languages, the Knights had just a 24-22 lead at the break but a 13-4 outburst in the third quarter gave them a cushion that they carried to the finish line. Languages scored only seven points in the second half.
Garner had 16 points to lead the way while Cleary had eight and Johnson and Hedler six apiece.
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