Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Badgers learning on the fly

Berkshire opened the 2017-2018 season without a returning starter and just one player who saw regular varsity action last winter.

That leaves the Badgers young and inexperienced but eager to learn and compete for another Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division title.

“After graduating seven players in each of the last two years, we have turned over our roster to a young, but promising core of underclassmen,” said fifth-year head coach Keith Clapacs. “We will rely heavily on our returning seniors and letter winners from a year ago.”

The Badgers also lack size, so their focus will be on protecting the ball and causing havoc on defense to create turnovers and more scoring chances.

“We are a guard-laden team so it will be important that we take great care of the basketball offensively while applying pressure on the defensive end in hopes of creating as many transition opportunities as possible,” Clapacs said. “We need to grow up fast. With only Tim Pillot seeing regular action last year, our inexperienced group needs to learn on the fly and understand what it takes to compete on a consistent basis in the rugged CVC.”

Pillot, a guard, is one of three seniors in the projected starting lineup. Jake Trushel will fill one of the other guard positions and Cole Crea will play forward.

“As our only returning rotational player, we are relying heavily on Tim and his leadership,” Clapacs said. “Cole’s rebounding and defensive leadership will be a key for us to compete. As a four year player in the program, Jake is ready to play a key role and brings a level of versatility that we will rely on as matchups change night in and night out.”

Junior guard Sam Roach and sophomore forward Jake Sinkenbring round out the starting lineup.

“Sam did earn some playing time as a sophomore for his ability to knock down outside shots. I am excited to see Sam step up the rest of his game now that we are counting on him at both ends of the floor,” Clapacs said. “Jake is young but has a ton of potential. He is one of our most skilled guys as a sophomore and he has a chance to have a great year.”

Junior guard Jacob Young and junior forwards Ky Bowman and Bobby Czekaj also are expected to contribute for the Badgers, who split a pair of games during the opening week of play.

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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