Young boys’ basketball team preps for another run

By Kyle Kercheval

Boys basketball has a combined 34-12 regular season record and a 6-2 postseason record the past two seasons; including last year’s state run that landed the Titans in the Colorado 5A State Championship Final Four.
Although only six of last year’s 13 varsity players are returning for the looming 2013-2014 season, the program remains confident that their talented and hardworking team can pick up right where they left off.
Senior Zach Mihalicz will be instrumental in the Titans success this season and not only is the 6-foot-8-inch big man poised to be one of the best in the Continental League, but also in all of 5A Colorado, according to varsity head coach, Kevin Boley.
“[Zach] will be the best big man in the state. He can’t be guarded with his size and skill set. We need to do a better job of getting him the ball in positions to score,” Boley said.
“That statement is humbling,” Mihalicz said. “Everyone strives to be the best at their sport, and more specifically at their position.”
Through hard work on and off the court, number 42 feels like he can outsmart and out physical most people in the state. However, he still plans to approach the season step by step.
“The goal starts during game one, and that’s how I will approach the season—one game at a time,” he said.
While Mihalicz’s numbers speak for themselves, the veteran also understands the leadership role that comes with having the most varsity experience in the program.
“I need to use my experience and maturity to be a leader for the younger kids on the team and in the program. I’m a big believer in being smarter and better prepared than your opponent and it will be my job as a vocal and physical leader to get the team to buy into that theory,” he said.
With a younger varsity rotation this season, senior forward Elijah Cherrington will also play a key leadership role, along with sophomore guards, Riley Matticks and Monroe Porter.
Although Legend lost arguably their best shooter in programs short history, Taylor Jenson, to graduation this past summer, Boley believes that they have a bright future with the sharpshooter, Porter; who he thinks will “set records for three-point shooting before he is done.”
With the combination of Mihalicz’s low-post game and Porter’s shooting touch, the Titan’s offense should be able to space the floor with an overall balanced attack.
However, with all the praise and potential of these young players, comes the growing pain associated with the transition and Legend’s consistent success. For coach Boley, the success not only increases the excitement, but also the competition.
“What [the program’s success] does is put an ‘x’ on our back, as we will now start to see everybody’s best shot,” he said.
While what Boley said was true, Mihalicz feels that the team’s high moral standards are equally as important as the success.
“The program as a whole has a high moral standard and culture for everyone at all levels. This helps mature the younger players and prepare them for when they get their opportunity at the varsity level,” Mihalicz said.
While the average age may be lower, the excitement level is at its peak as boys basketball is back at Legend.
“[I’m] very excited [for this year],” Boley said. “[We have a] very hard working team with a high basketball IQ.”
“It’s exciting to have a young team that is full of energy and enthusiasm for the game,” Mihalicz said. “We believe in each other’s skills and are excited to showcase it at games. Everyone has bought into our goals and we are ready to start the journey.”

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