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Coventry boys basketball team putting together wins

1/23/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

COVENTRY — Now in his third season as the Coventry High School boys basketball head coach, Lynn Wess said his team is “still in the process.”

Through Jan. 20, the team’s overall record was 9-4 — including a 4-2 mark in the Portage Trail Conference — and Wess said his team’s season so far has been defined by three separate stretches of play.

“We started out 4-1, but then went through a tough spot where we lost four of our next five while playing some pretty tough teams,” he said. “We’ve now come back and won four in a row, with a couple of real good wins. We had a really good week last week, beating Kenmore on Tuesday, Kent [Roosevelt] on Friday and then a real good Western Reserve Academy team Saturday night at home.”

Wess said he likes the intensity his team has shown during the four-game winning streak.

“We don’t win pretty, but our kids compete,” he stated. “Our kids play hard. We play defense and we force turnovers. I just like their will to win and their refuse-to-lose attitude.”

According to Wess, senior Jesse Oravecz has been a “hard-hat type of player” for the team this season.

“He does a lot of the dirty work. He’s a great role player for us,” the coach said. “He’s our second-leading rebounder and probably our best inside defender. He gets to a lot of loose balls and takes the most charges on the team. He’s very much a team player.”

Wess said another senior, Jimmy Holmgren, has been the team’s “inside scoring threat.”

“He’s one of our top scorers,” the coach said. “Jimmy just has to find some consistency right now. He’s had a couple of real good games, and he’s had some games where he’s had problems scoring. Consistency has been the key.”

Sophomore Bryce Hargrove has started to assert himself in the paint, Wess said.

“He’s averaging right around 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks a game. He’s playing right around where I might expect,” the coach said. “I thought he might be averaging more than nine rebounds a game, but he’s giving us an inside presence.”

In addition, Wess said, sophomore combo guard Conner Wess joined the starting lineup “five or six games ago” and has proven worthy of a starting role.

“That’s my son, and he’s really stepped up in the last couple of weeks,” the coach said. “He had 25 points against Ravenna two weeks ago, and then he had a real good game against Kent this past Tuesday where he had 20 points and four steals. He just gives us a little bit of everything. He not only can score, but he’s our second-leading player in steals and he’s right up there with Bryce in blocked shots. Plus, he might be our best free-throw shooter right now.”

The other key players on this year’s team are juniors Will Morisak and Trevor Burkhart and seniors Luke Bogdonovich and Zach Smith.

“We have eight players who, in these last four games, have really stepped up,” the coach said. “I’m pleased right now, and we’ll just have to see how we play in a huge game coming up [today, Jan. 24] against Norton. They are 5-1 in the league and we’re 4-2. We’re a game behind them in the standings, and this game Friday will have major ramifications on who will win the league.”

That game will start at 7:30 p.m. at Coventry High School.

With eight games left on the regular season schedule, Wess said he wants to see his team cut down on turnovers before postseason play gets under way.

“We are continuing to work every day on taking care of the basketball,” he said. “Sometimes, the way we play is chaotic and helter skelter. We try to get teams to make mistakes and push them up the floor. When you do that, you’re going to have turnovers. But our main goal right now is to cut those turnovers down and take care of the ball a little bit better.”

Wess said the team’s goal at the beginning of the season was to try to notch 15 wins, and that goal remains within sight.

“That’s still my goal. I still think that’s attainable,” he said. “We want to try to contend for the league title, and right now, no matter what happens Friday, we still have a number of league games left where, even if we don’t win in the league, we can still be right there at the top of the standings.”

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