November 26, 2022

Athletic bunch of seniors set to lead Wolverine boys on the court

It’s boys basketball time again for the Wolverines, and this time, they’ll have a little help from their friends.

The Nodaway Valley boys will be joined by players from Orient-Macksburg, the program learned late last week. The Bulldogs found they didn’t have enough players to field a team.

Head coach Jeremy Blake is in his second season at the helm of the program. He hopes that another year of players and coaches being together will lend itself to a quicker acclimation to systems and terminology.

Blake reported at a media day Saturday, Nov. 5 that effort in the offseason was very good from the entire group. They are trying to instill a family atmosphere within the team and program as a whole.

“Coming in this year, a lot of the expectations revolve around those older guys taking on the leadership role. We had some preseason shooting this year. Last year I had to hound these guys all the time about talking, but I didn’t have to this year,” Blake said. “They were talking to the younger guys, showing the younger guys [how to do things] and teaching our older guys how to lead our younger guys, being able to help the younger guys along the way.”

Of those leaders, the Wolverines return their top two scorers from last year in Boston DeVault (16 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 3.3 steals per game) and Avery Phillippi (12.5 ppg, 1.9 apg, 6.0 rpg and 1.3 spg), who are both now seniors.

Other seniors Blake Lund, Mason Wilson, Doug Berg and Bryant Kuster, will all likely be in a regular rotation on the court. Tyson Ross and Jase Davidson are both seniors from Orient-Macksburg who have contributed nicely for the Wolverines in other sports. Ross scored nine points had 9.5 rebounds per game last year for the Bulldogs. Davidson averaged 5.8 ppg.

“I know that Boston and Avery will get a lot of attention — and, rightfully so with them being all-conference guys and leading scorers coming back — but we’re really going to challenge them to trust their teammates and do what they can do to make the others better,” Blake said.

Now a junior, Dawson Nelson contributed 4 ppg as a sophomore.

Other juniors Blake mentioned are Jack Jensen, Triston Randal and Ben Hoover.

Paul Berg was a freshman last year who contributed well as a taller presence under the hoop.

“A lot of any changes we make this year will be because of that athleticism [we have in our senior group]. There’s a lot of good pieces. It’s a good problem for me to have, to figure all those out and maximize everybody as much as I can,” Blake said. “Some kids you can get on, some you can’t. How you approach them and all of those pieces are extremely important.”

Blake said a big addition this year will be the 35-second shot clock, which he anticipates will have a large impact on some games and the way some teams choose to play.

“Last year I thought our mantra was that we would get behind, then make a push, and the opposing team would hold the ball. Now the shot clock takes that piece away,” Blake said. “Last year our guys bought in, stayed the course, and we started to see the results toward the end of the season.”

The Wolverines opened with a jamboree scrimmage Tuesday, Nov. 22 at Exira-Elk Horn-Kimballton. Their first game is Monday, Nov. 28 at Clarinda. They will host Southwest Valley as part of a girl-boy doubleheader Tuesday, Dec. 6.

“We’re excited to get things going and I feel like our guys are chomping at the bit to get things going,” Blake said. “I’m really excited for everything we’ve got.”

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson has served as News Editor of the Adair County Free Press and Fontanelle Observer since Oct. 2017. He and his wife Kilee live in Greenfield. In Greenfield and the greater Adair County area, he values the opportunity to tell peoples' stories, enjoys playing guitar, following all levels of sports, and being a part of his local church.