Plum boys seek balance
This isn't a television series, but Plum boys basketball fans will find out what happens when a supporting cast is asked to take top billing at the start of a new season.
“We're trying to replace a significant amount of scoring from last year,” coach Ron Richards said. “It's kind of a process from new roles compared to last season.”
Plum's toughest task is replacing one of the WPIAL's most prolific scorers in Nolan Cressler, who already is averaging nearly 20 minutes per game as a freshman at Cornell.
Cressler averaged 25.6 points last season and broke Plum's career scoring mark.
“Nolan was never somebody who took a lot of shots,” Richards said. “He averaged 27 a game, but he never took more than 20 shots in a game.”
Despite losing Cressler, Plum remains experienced after a 16-8 season in which the Mustangs reached the Class AAAA quarterfinals.
Richards will rely on seniors Griffin Myers and Matt Dombroski and juniors Nick Stotler and Austin Dedert to be his core group.
“We have four guys that have a lot of varsity experience,” Richards said. “They've all played and played in a few playoff games. It's a matter of a different role.”
In Section 2-AAAA play, which may feature some of the most diverse offensive game-planning in the WPIAL due to a wide range of inside-outside attacks, Plum will need to look the part.
Richards thinks his personnel will be up to the challenge.
“I think we'll be balanced this year,” he said. “We will play more inside out. We don't have a guy who will go out and score 25 points a night for us.”
Stotler is the most natural candidate, Richards believes, who can make the biggest impact on the scoreboard.
“He has the body and is kind of good in traffic,” Richards said. “Scoring comes natural for him. I think he'll make a significant jump (in production).”
Dedert, a 6-foot-6 center, will undoubtedly get his touches, but his increased size should make the most difference.
“He's close to 200 pounds now, but I don't think he's done growing,” Richards said. “(Other centers) had their way with him as a skinny sophomore.”
Myers is expected to be a well-rounded type of player for the Mustangs.
“Griffin is more of a consistent type of guy,” Richards said. “He was a bit of a stationary shooter, but we're trying to get him to move a little more.”
Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.