Eagles strive for consistency

SEELEY LAKE – The Seeley Lake Elementary Eagles are set for take-off in the last couple weeks of the boys' basketball season. This year there are 16 boys on the fifth and sixth grade B team and nine boys on the seventh and eighth grade A Team. Head Coach Brett Haines and Assistant Coach Brad Miller are happy with the progress and look forward to continued improvement in the final weeks of the season.

Eagles A Team

Haines said the A Team is working hard on their basketball skills and seeing improvements but they still need to improve in every aspect. This is a rebuilding year for the team and since there are no all-stars on the team, they are improving together.

He added it is challenging for the boys because they have such a short season, starting right after football and hitting two major holidays. He said his players have to put in time shooting outside of practice to excel.

In their home game Nov. 25 against Potomac, the Eagles stayed with the Pioneers for the first 10 minutes. However, by the end of the first half, Potomac was ahead 10-22. Potomac continued to increase the spread in the second half.

"We had some mental break downs on defense and they got up on us," said Haines. "We couldn't make a shot and we got too far behind."

Seeley rallied with less than five minutes left in the second half adding nine more points to the board but it wasn't enough to catch them. The final score was 19-41.

"Towards the end of the game we got back into our rhythm, made some shots and were doing things better," said Haines. "We just need to get some consistency and play on that upper level the whole game to have success in the tournament. That is what we are working towards."

Haines said they are looking forward to the tournaments. While the Eagles aren't the favorite to win it, they are looking forward to putting up some good competition against the tough teams this season including MIS, Clinton and Potomac. They are working towards upsetting the brackets and pulling off a win against a team that has beat them in the regular season.

"We've got some outstanding kids and they are working hard," said Haines. "I've really enjoyed working with this group of kids."

Eagles B Team

Miller said the B Team has been focusing on the fundamentals. While shooting is big, he focuses on passing and dribbling. He relies on Levi Boyd and Dominick Gratton to bring the ball down. Miller called Alex Binder his "hound on defense. If they have a good player, I just send him on them and he usually gets a couple of steals."

Miller said they are also working on defensive positioning. He explained at the start of the season the team gave up a lot of points because they weren't playing between their opponent and the basket. They have learned where they need to be and how to help each other out when screens are set.

Miller said running the play all the way through has been a big success for the season. In the beginning the players just wanted to freelance and play. However, in the last week they have been implementing the play all the way through.

"They are doing awesome," said Miller. "I'm really proud of them."

The first time the B Team faced Potomac, they lost by more than 20 points. However on their home court Nov. 25 and without their top scorer Derrick Brovold, the Eagles came within a talon's length of the win.

Going into the half, they were down six points 10-16.

The second half they got three steals in a row. Noah Stone added four points and then hit a three late in the game. Quinlan McClure added four points and John Debernardi added two for a final score of 23-28.

"Right to the last second they were working as hard as they could," said Miller. "That was super awesome to see. I was very pleased with how they played today."

The final home game is Dec. 5 against DeSmet. The tournament schedule will be available at SLE next week.


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