Warrior boys basketball team plans to trust the process

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Members of the Central varsity boys basketball team include (front, left to right) Corey Weber, Parker Vaughn, Daniel McGreal, Ashton Burroughs, William Moser; (back) head coach Brady Stramer, James Eberhardt, Hazen Loan, Tommy Seeland, Evan Pensel, Abenet Lammers, C.J. Polkinghorn and coach Mike Beck. (Photo by Willis Patenaude)

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register

Coming off a 3-20 season, second-year Central boys varsity basketball coach Brady Stramer looks to improve the team as players and individuals behind a philosophy that promotes helping people above all else. 

Fueled by a love of the game and an enjoyment of competition, Stramer turned to coaching when playing was no longer an option, and the entire endeavor has been nothing short of a “rewarding experience.” 

“My favorite thing about coaching is working with the students and seeing them improve,” Stramer said. 

That attitude extends beyond the court, as well, where Stramer preaches a positive attitude and talks about the idea of control, specifically what they as a team and individuals can control, then to focus on it. “The rest will take care of itself,” Stramer said.

As a result, he focuses on building relationships with students, finding ways to motivate them based on their reasons for playing and their personalities. This bond helps when it comes to deciding who plays and who doesn’t, something that is a challenge because it’s not possible for everyone to play a lot of minutes. This approach ensures that every student feels valued.  

This season, Central’s expectations remain lofty, but they are less based on results than in the overall process. The main goal is not just on wins, but on improving throughout the year. That improvement should come easier this season, since the majority of players have experience, a fact Stramer hopes will mitigate turnovers. 

“We are very upper-class heavy, so we have a lot of great leadership. As long as we learn from our mistakes from last season and don’t repeat those, this should be a realistic goal,” he said. 

This leadership will be relied upon as the team tackles a season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with ever-changing guidelines that create an environment of uncertainty, or as Stramer said, “inconsistency.” 

This places great importance on communicating the growing list of changes and COVID-19-related expectations. Some of the changes have impacted practice, where the team does a lot less close contact drills and everything is done in shorter time frames. 

“Our first and foremost goal is to keep the students safe, so we continually remind the students that their actions and decisions outside of basketball have more of an impact than ever before,” Stramer said. 

The changes don’t end there, though. This season, players not in the game will have to wear a mask, spectators will be limited and those in attendance will be spaced out per guidelines. 

“The games will be much quieter due to the guidelines, [so] the players not in the game will be encouraged to serve as our energy supplier,” Stramer said. 

The lack of a crowd will reveal the importance of the community, what it means to the team and how they come together, like they did last season for the varsity girls’ playoff run. To Stramer, “it showed the community’s support and hunger for success [and], when a community comes together to support a common goal, it can be a very powerful and impactful experience.” 

In a trying season littered with challenges never seen before, the boys team looks to triumph and overcome behind character, respect and an uplifting approach to team athletics. 

“We have a newfound appreciation for playing basketball. We truly understand that playing is a privilege, and we should treat it as such,” Stramer said. 

Central’s season started at home on Tuesday, Dec. 1, against the West Central Blue Devils.

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