Viking Jayvee Boys Commit to Defense
The Union Pines boys’ junior varsity basketball team is almost halfway through its 2012-2013 3-A Cape Fear Valley Conference campaign.
Through 15 games, head coach Eric Marion’s Vikings are 8-7 overall on the season and 2-3 in conference competition.
Union Pines’ sophomore backcourt duo of Robert Collins and Joseph Gisler has been leading the Vike ship so far this season.
Collins is averaging 14.6 points per game, while Gisler is averaging 10.1 points per outing. Third in scoring for the Vikings is sophomore post player Joseph Bibey with six points per game.
Bibey is also the team’s leading rebounder, averaging 5.3 boards per contest, followed by Nick Conway (4.1) and Gisler (3.2)
Freshman guard Brandon Orloff and sophomore guard Ivan Gonzalez are the team’s top-two assist leaders. Collins leads the team with 3.1 steals a game, followed by Gisler with a mark of 1.1.
According to Marion, one of the most admirable qualities of his squad is their commitment to defense.
“One thing that stands out to me this year is our defensive approach,” said Marion. “We have gotten much better throughout the year with our defense, minus a few mishaps in transition. We oftentimes switch up our defenses to give teams different looks throughout the games.
‘More times than not, when we play sound defense, we are very competitive no matter who we are playing.”
Getting back to defend fast-break chances and the defensive boards are two areas of the game Marion feels his team still has some room for improvement.
“Two things that generally hurt us in losses are our transition defense, and not boxing out opponents,” he said. “When we give up easy baskets in transition, and give the other team multiple chances on rebounds, it usually doesn’t turn out in our favor.”
Thus far into the season Marion is most pleased by the quality of his players as upstanding people and student-athletes, along with their willingness to strive both to improve and compete.
“I have a great group of guys that love going to practice and competing and getting better every day,” said Marion. “Everyone on the team likes one another, which makes them an easy group to coach.
“All of them have great attitudes both on and off the court, and do what it takes in the classroom as well. It is very rare that I hear anything negative from anyone about this group, and you can’t ask for anything more than that.
“This group has become closer since preseason and is starting to realize what it takes to win. They know if they do the little things in a basketball game, like get on the floor after loose balls, taking a charge, helping on defense, or even helping their teammate off the ground when he gets on the floor.”
In closing, when asked what one thing stood out most to him about the group Marion’s answer was their “character.”
“The thing that stands out right away is what a great group this is to coach,” he said. “I can’t say enough about what an awesome group of guys I have.
“I get more emails from teachers telling me how good the players are doing in class, than I get negative emails.
“They compete every game and never give up, no matter what the outcome. Those are the things that stand out to me.”
The team is off this week because of exams, but Union Pines returns to CFVC jayvee action Tuesday, Jan. 22, against Westover in Fayetteville.
Contact F.W. Manning II at frank firstname.lastname@example.org.
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