Prep Beat

JIM PETERS: Basketball coaches, teams adjust to weather-shortened week

2014-01-09T17:00:00Z 2014-01-10T00:59:09Z JIM PETERS: Basketball coaches, teams adjust to weather-shortened weekJim Peters Times Columnist nwitimes.com
January 09, 2014 5:00 pm  • 

Talk about your short work weeks.

Finally thawed and dug out from the winter blast, most area basketball teams returned to practice Thursday to begin truncated preparations for tonight's games.

"Whenever it comes to high school basketball, you always have to be prepared for unexpected stuff," Crown Point coach Clint Swan said. "When I was at Frankfort, I had a practice shut down five minutes in, and we played our best game of the year the next day. When you talk about dealing with adversity, it's about getting back to basics, fundamental basketball. You're forced to focus on yourself. You can't try to cram five days of practice into one, two days."

The Bulldogs had games postponed Saturday and Tuesday. Unlike most schools, they were allowed to practice Wednesday despite school being closed.

"I was really wanting in there (Tuesday), then I went out on the roads, and I was glad they called it off," Swan said. "If it were up to all the coaches, we'd be all trying to figure out how to practice. I'm glad the decision's not in my hands."

Marquette's Donovan Garletts spent seven hours on the road Tuesday, returning from Bloomington for a family gathering. He didn't realize how bad the weather was until he drove past snow drifts taller than an overpass.

"It was absolutely crazy," Garletts said.

Garletts had already planned to give his team Monday off, so he lost two days of practice, returning to the Scholl Center court Thursday.

"It'll be a three-hour practice," he said. "I know the kids are chomping at the bit. One of them texted me, saying school better not be canceled, because he wanted to practice. It's more about tweaking everything."

Marquette plays Bishop Noll tonight in a huge Greater South Shore Conference game, followed by Andrean on Saturday afternoon.

"I wish it wasn't such big games on one weekend, but it's probably a blessing in disguise," Garletts said. "Sometimes, you need it. We've had a lot of nagging injuries. We're at the point where we're not putting in anything new. We're just refining stuff, making sure everything's on point, fixing mistakes. If our focus isn't good, that's on me as a coach. The kids know what they're doing. You don't forget how to ride a bike after two days."

Portage played Saturday in Richmond, its sixth game in eight days, so coach Rick Snodgrass wasn't too stressed over the time off.

"Honestly, it's probably pretty good," Snodgrass said. "They'll be able to get their legs fresh again. Obviously, they may lose something, not shooting every day, but I think they'll be OK. We'll just have to make up for it with other little things from the defensive side of it."

The Indians open Duneland Athletic Conference play against Valparaiso.

"There are no secrets in the DAC," Snodgrass said. "Every game's played like it's the sectional, a grind it out, possession by possession game."

When he was at North Harrison, Snodgrass had an entire week of practice wiped out. They played the following Tuesday and tore it up offensively, so you just never know.

"I look at it kind of like summer ball, where you just really go out and play," he said. "It all depends on how the kids react. I don't think there's any way you can judge until they get out on the court. We've got some seniors. Hopefully they'll react in a loose manner."

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at james.peters@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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