Wolves hoping for improved season
By Josh Staloch
ALGOMA – Second-year head coach Eric Schneider knows this year’s Algoma High boys basketball team can become competitive in the very tough Packerland Conference.
Last year, the team went 7-16 overall and 3-13 in conference, finishing ahead of only Sevastopol in the standings.
Schneider’s goals for this season are very simple.
“I’d like to see us just be more competitive in every game and I think we will be,” he said. “I’d like to see us finish in the middle of the pack or in the top half of the conference. I think we can do that. I don’t think we’re at the top yet but we’re improving, in my opinion.“
The team’s record didn’t end up where they would have liked it last season but there were highlights that the team hopes to build on this year.
The Wolves scored lopsided non-conference wins against teams like Stockbridge (78-30) and Gresham Community (88-18) and coach Schneider hopes this year’s more difficult opponents outside of Packerland play will have the team better prepared for the difficult competition it faces regularly.
“Our non-conference schedule last season was probably not as tough as I would have liked it to be,” said Schneider, who has been with the Algoma program for 12 years before he took over the varsity program last season. “It’s always good to get some wins under your belt, don’t get me wrong, but we’re going to try to add a few more games to our non-conference schedule this year that will be a little more competitive for us, to help us prepare for our tough conference.”
The team lost four players from last season to graduation but good numbers in the program, 33 athletes between JV and varsity, has Schneider optimistic about leadership. Coach says this year’s senior class brings with it some solid floor leaders via a handful of players who played a lot of junior varsity minutes last season.
“We’re only one week into practice but team chemistry is very good so far.”
This year’s wolves will rely on gritty play on both sides of the ball to keep them in games.
“Our toughness defensively will help us. We’re playing very physically so far, which is one of my goals for the team,” coach Schneider said. “We’re going to be undersized this year. It is what it is. We’re just going to have to play more physical.”
The final roster is still taking shape but fans can expect to see several familiar names getting a lot of minutes. Sophomore Parker Lischka, junior Chase Romdenne and seniors Grant Vandervest, Jack Cole, Jack Tebon and big man Cody Kirchman will make up the core of the 2023-24 Algoma squad.