To be competitive this winter is the goal set by coach Anthony Smith for his Coupeville High School boys basketball club.
The young Wolves suffered through a miserable 2011-12, dropping all 20 games, often by hefty margins. Smith had only one senior on his roster and he gave heavy minutes to two sophomores and four freshmen.
“We hope to compete, to be in games this year,” Smith said.
He added, “The schedule looks like if we compete, we will get some wins.”
This year’s slate includes the always tough Cascade Conference schools, but gone are difficult nonleague games with traditional powers Meridian and Bellevue Christian, replaced by likes of Blaine, Orcas Island and Mount Vernon Christian.
Gone also are two starters from last year, Mitch Pelroy, who graduated, and Taylor Ebersole, who transferred to La Conner.
The remainder of the players who saw significant minutes last winter return, including starters junior Gavin O’Keefe, junior Nick Streubel and sophomore Aaron Curtin. The Wolves are still young, with only two seniors, Drew Chan and Caleb Valko. Also back are sophomores Carson Risner and Aaron Trumbull.
Key newcomers, according to Smith, are freshman Wiley Hesselgrave and juniors Morgan Payne and Anthony Bergeron.
Smith said, “A lot of the kids have the desire, but they need the confidence.” He noted that confidence will come with experience.
Numbers are up this year, Smith said, with about 25 trying out for the team, 10 more than in 2011-12.
With a larger squad, Smith said the Wolves will be able to play a different style of ball this year. He, however, would not elaborate on the changes, not wanting to “tip his hand.”
Coupeville opens the season at home at 3 p.m. today with a nonleague game with Blaine, who finished 4-16 last winter.