Young Wildcats hungry for success
By Josh Staloch
GREEN BAY – Second-year head coach Jerry Overstreet said he knows there are plenty of challenges ahead for his Green Bay West boys’ basketball team as it looks to climb up the Bay Conference standings.
The Wildcats went 8-16 overall last season but finished the conference schedule at 2-12, a mark the team is anxious to improve upon as it figures out its strengths early in the season.
Only Shawano, with a 1-13 conference record, finished below West in 2018-19.
The Wildcats lost an 84-54 WIAA Division 2 regional game to Kaukauna to end their season.
West will have to improve this year without the help of Freeman Jackson, one of a handful of key contributors the Wildcats lost to graduation.
Averaging about 18 points per contest his senior season, Overstreet said Jackson was a playmaker who did a bit of everything.
West also lost defensive specialist Prince Roberts and Dion Coleman, a quick, 6-foot guard who averaged around 10 points a game last year.
“We lost some offense, there’s no doubt about it,” said Overstreet. “We go from a group that had some senior leadership a year ago to being a team looking like it might have one or two seniors this season.”
All of this means a lot for the role of Jefferson Cooper-Holmes, who averaged 9.5 points and 7.3 rebounds a game last season, as the Wildcats approach their regular season.
According to Overstreet, Cooper-Holmes, a 6-foot-3 junior with deceptive speed and an instinct to attack the basket aggressively, has made big improvements to his shooting touch since last year.
Along with Cooper-Holmes, 6-foot-4 junior Nathan Meyer will look to contribute with his size on the boards.
West will again be an undersized squad but will play a fast-paced style that suits its strengths.
Santos Chandara, Ticin Steele, Kameron Eddins, Jackson Spoentgen and Jack Hemery round out the group of juniors who will make up the bulk of the Wildcats’ roster.
“We struggled last year rebounding because we’re not a big team,” Overstreet said. “One of the big things for us this year – we’ve talked about it a lot – is defense to offense. Getting up and down the court. Playing a half-court offense isn’t going to be a strength for us. It wasn’t last year, and it won’t be this year. We were opportunistic when we got break chances, and we hope to continue with that.”
Overstreet said he is hoping his players are buying into his philosophy.
“Fundamentally, we were behind as a program,” said Overstreet. “I think we’ve taken tremendous strides with the work we’ve put in over the summer with this young group.”
Green Bay West boys’ basketball schedule
12/10 – @ Shawano Community
12/13 – Green Bay East
12/16 – @ Algoma – 7:30
1/3 – West De Pere
1/7 – @ Menasha
1/10 – Xavier
1/14 – @ New London
1/16 – Seymour
1/24 – @ Peshtigo – 7:15 p.m.
1/28 – Shawano
2/1 – @ Green Bay East
2/4 – Manawa
2/6 – @ West De Pere
2/10 – @ Menominee Indian
2/14 – Menasha
2/18 – @ Xavier
2/21 – @ Seymour
2/25 – @ Shiocton – 7:30 p.m.
2/27 – New London
Editor’s note: All games begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.