Youth dominates Howardsville hoops roster

HOWARDSVILLE — The Howardsville Christian boys’ basketball team will have a different look after capturing a Class D district title last season.
Veteran head coach Dave Parks enjoyed one of his finest seasons going 19-4, winning a district crown before falling to perennial state power Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian in the regional semifinals.
Nathan Parks, a first-team Class D All-State pick, was the offensive centerpiece of that squad averaging 20.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 4.9 assists. He scored 1,465 career points at Howardsville.
Also lost were starter Brandon Jergens and Noah Johnson.
Sophomore guard Dylan Jergens will pick up some of the scoring slack after averaging 20 points per game last year.
During his freshman season, Jergens made 88 three-pointers.
“Dylan has worked hard on his game after an outstanding freshman season. He is passionate about basketball and brings an excellent skill set to this team. I believe he is ready to take his game and his leadership to the next level,” Dave Parks said.
Also returning is senior guard Jordan Rose.
“Jordan is a quick high-energy guard. He is a good shooter and dribbler. He plays an important role in the back court,” said Howardsville’s coach.
Junior Dan Kent returns at forward.
“Daniel is a nice inside player with soft hands and good instincts. We are looking to expand his role this season,” Parks said.
Junior center Luke Withers also returns.
“Luke has improved his conditioning and his understanding of the game,” Parks said.
The final returner is junior center Kolton Beachey.
“Kolton works hard and helps us in the post. He has continued to improve and is a pleasure to coach,” Parks said.
Howardsville’s head coach has been pleased with the development of four key newcomers.
Sophomore Logan Cornwell will see time at a wing spot.
“Logan is a strong player with a nice shooting stroke. He continues to improve and will be one of the keys in our ability to compete this year,” Parks said.
Sophomore Colton Fair will see time at guard.
“Colton runs the floor well and is a hard worker. He will help us in multiple ways,” Parks said.
Sophomore David Cripps will add depth at guard.
“David is a hard worker and a good defender. He also is a solid shooter,” Parks said.
Sophomore Matt Grice will play forward.
“Matt brings energy and hustle to our team and is a pleasure to coach,” Howardsville’s coach said.
Parks expects his team to be strong at the guard and wing positions.
“Our guards and wing players all shoot the ball pretty well and like to run the court,” Parks said.
“Our postplayers continue to improve and mature in their understanding of the game. We need to replace some players who were key leaders, rebounders and scorers. I expect that we will grow into filling those roles. How quickly we can do that will have an impact on our early season success.”
Rose, Kent and Withers all averaged between five and seven points. Withers and Kent averaged four rebounds per game.
Parks knows that with just one senior and more than half his team being sophomores, defining and understanding roles will take some time.
“Building defensive toughness will be important. We have been relying on guard play to a large extent in recent seasons so we are learning to effectively utilize our posts with a goal of a more balanced offensive attack. This is a work in process,” Parks said.
Howardsville will play in the White tier of the BCS Conference, along with St. Joe Lake Michigan Catholic, St. Joe Michigan Lutheran, Three Oaks-River Valley and Benton Harbor Countryside.
“Games with area schools like Centreville, Mendon, White Pigeon and Marcellus will be good tests for us. We have strengthened the rest of our non-conference schedule as well, with a goal of improving and stretching ourselves as the season progresses,” Parks said.
“I continue to enjoy coaching the kids at Howardsville. We have some very coachable players and supportive families.”
Parks will be assisted at the varsity level by Tim Jergens and Justin Jergnes. Rob Belson is coaching the Eagles’ JV with assistance from Kevin Beachey.
Howardsville began its season on Tuesday with a 75-31 win at home over Lakeside Prep Academy.
Scott Hassinger can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 25 or sports@threeriversnews.com.

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