By Chris Chaney
Reversing their fate on Jan. 13 at Little Miami, the Glen Este Trojans have thawed out from the polar vortex and got back to winning basketball games after a weather-induced losing streak derailed a promising start to the season.
“We got off to a good start. We were 4-1 and one of the games that was postponed (due to weather) was Walnut Hills,” head coach Dave Caldwell explained. “That was supposed to be our second or third game and I was really hoping that we would play that game.
“Walnut Hills has come around a little bit right now. They got some of their transfers in the mix and feeling part of the group, so I was disappointed we didn’t get to play them (as originally scheduled) and they ended up beating us pretty handily at home (67-49 on Dec. 27).”
That loss to Walnut at the end of 2013 cascaded into a four-game losing streak in which the Trojans dropped Eastern Cincinnati Conference games at Milford and at home to Kings.
“We had another freeze out against Little Miami (originally scheduled for Jan. 7) last week and would have had a chance to beat them when we were still above .500 to get a good feeling going into some tough games at the end of the week,” Caldwell said. “Instead, we played some tough teams in Northwest and Kings (consecutively). So I guess what (the weather) did was force us to play a lot of really good teams in a row with really good players and really good coaches that have turned it into a tough string of games for us.”
The Little Miami game that was initially seen as a winnable game and potential momentum builder has turned out to be just that, only it’s coming a week after it was originally scheduled.
The Trojans traveled to the home of the Panthers and cashed in on a 60-54 win on the strength of a 25-point performance by senior guard Tyler Flanigan. Glen Este doubled up the Panthers in the first half, 36-18, and hung on for the six-point win.
“Tyler Flanigan, Logan Harris and Kyle Keszei are our three leading scorers and opponents have identified them,” Caldwell said. “We’ve been struggling with getting them some looks, so we’ve tinkered with some things to get them some opportunities to score.
“Pretty much as they go we go, but we need some other guys to step up.”
Caldwell said scoring 45 points is fine so long as the Trojan defense holds up their end of the bargain and keeps opponents under that 45-point mark. While that much seems obvious, the coach said the key to making that happen is taking care of the ball and not being so free-wheeling with it, which can turn into easy transition points for Glen Este’s opponents.
Aside from the trio of leading scorers, Caldwell has stout junior class that he hopes can step into some bigger roles in the second half of the season as they get more varsity experience.
“We have about six or seven guys getting minutes playing in the post and we’re looking for some of those guys to come through,” Caldwell said. “Our seniors, Gage Rowan, Colin Couch and Tyler Burdick, two of those three guys are coming off of injuries, and there are some other guys who are all capable, but with the exception of Tyler Burdick, they need to get used to the physicality of playing varsity basketball, which is new for those guys.”
Over the next week, the schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Trojans. After facing Walnut Hills for the second time in three weeks on Tuesday, Glen Este hosts Turpin and travels to Western Brown before they come down the home stretch in February.
“We have a couple non-league games coming up and we’ve only lost one non-league game,” the coach explained. “We’d like to keep that success going and then we’re getting into our second time through the conference and we feel like we can do a better job.”