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High Schools

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Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Grant Sinn is one of few players returning from last season’s sectional-winning Canterbury team. The Cavaliers lost three players to graduation and another to a move to California.

Experience differs for Canterbury, Blackhawk teams

Despite some sub-.500 years recently, Marc Davidson still saw good prospects at Blackhawk Christian. That’s why he left Lakewood Park after a couple of successful years to take over the Braves’ program when Jay Sefton stepped aside.

“For us, it was a situation where we felt like it was a good opportunity for us,” said Davidson, who was 30-15 in two seasons with the Panthers. “We had connections at Blackhawk, and the opportunity presented itself so we felt like it would be a good fit for us.”

The Braves haven’t had a winning record since 2009-10, but with plenty of experience coming back and some new talent coming in with Davidson’s sons, the expectations are high.

Blackhawk returns juniors Riley Reimchisel (13.9 points per game, 4.2 assists per game, 3.3 rebounds per game), Joey Morlan (12.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists), Preston Rippe (7.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists) and Michael Wharton and senior Jordan Maley.

Davidson brings his two sons with him – junior Wesley Davidson (13.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists) and sophomore Will Davidson, who played junior varsity last year.

“We have a lot of experience coming back,” coach Davidson said. “Our junior class looks pretty solid, and we have some kids who have been on varsity for now their third year.”

Blackhawk Christian finished 17-8 in 2009-10 and followed that up with 8-13, 8-16 and 7-16 records.

“They have high basketball IQ’s, and they understand the game,” Davidson said. “From that standpoint, the transition has been seamless. They have been able to jump right in. The system will be different from what they are used to. With their IQ and the type of kids they are, it has been a smooth transition.”

Davidson knows all about playing as a basketball independent and playing against bigger schools. This season, the Braves have six games against SAC schools and play at Marion.

“We play a tough schedule,” Davidson said. “We will play anybody who is willing to play us. For us the challenge is go out there every night and compete. We feel like we have the talent to do that. It is a matter of our kids developing the toughness that they need to realize they can play at that level and maintaining that each night.”

Scott Kreiger knows something about being the new coach in a program after he took over the boys program at Canterbury last season after winning multiple state titles with the Cavaliers’ girls program.

Canterbury went 15-9 last year with a sectional championship but will have a new look with the graduation loss of Trent VanHorn, Chase Moyle and Joey Pedro. Plus, Austin Hatch moved to California.

“Probably will be, definitely less experienced,” Kreiger said. “We have lost a lot of experience the last few years. We will have a lot of gaps to fill, but the exciting thing is we have some good, young players. It is just a matter of how quickly we can get those guys blended into the mix.”

The Cavaliers have five returning varsity players, including junior Andrew Kus (7.6 points, 5.7 rebounds) and Grant Sinn (6 points).

“I have seen these kids last year and through the summer and in the open gym, and at times we have looked really good and at times, we have looked really bad,” Kreiger said. “That’s going to be the nature of our season. We will have some ups and downs. I anticipate there will be lots of peaks and valleys with this group. Hopefully by the time we get to the tournament, we will be where we want to be.”