Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 20, 2014

Basketball must go on

By Hunter Tickel | Nov 20, 2013
Photo by: Hunter Tickel Senior Walker Breard dribbles two basketballs during a drill at Washington’s first practice of the 2013-2014 season. Breard stared on junior varsity last year and will look to carry that over to the varsity level.

Hoops season is upon Washington. It cannot wait.
There is still the biggest football game in school history to be played Thursday in the UNI-Dome for the state title, but in the meantime basketball started for non-football players Monday.
This puts head coach Bryce Smeins in a precarious position of not knowing who will suit up after one week of practice.
“This is the first time it has happened to me in 30 years,” Smeins said. “I hope it happens every year. It is a great thing for our seniors, our football team and our community. I would live with this problem every year. As soon as football is over we have to see who comes out.”
Smeins wasn’t able to comment on a lot of players who figure to see significant playing time.
“Once we get our lineup together I can talk about kids more than I can today,” Smeins said.
He expects as many as 10 guys to fill up the junior varsity and varsity squads.
“This is a new deal for me,” Smeins said. “We will deal with it this week. Once everyone gets here, we will go from there.”
For now he will work with a group largely compiled of guys who didn’t play football.
“We had some open gyms for guys not doing cross–country and football,” Smeins said. “No football players — the last thing we want is for them to get injured.”
Monday night ushered in a new season of Washington boys’ basketball, something that never gets old for Smeins.
“This is awesome; it is my favorite night of the year,” Smeins said. “I get going again. There are a lot of kids that want to play; I have to get ready for it.”
Smeins said the first week will be spent on getting his players basketball fit.
“We are trying to get them acclimated back to playing basketball,” Smeins said. “A lot of them played in the fall and a lot of them haven’t played. We work on fundamentals, ball handling, conditioning. The gym will look different. It will be a great week to work with the guys that are here, and get some fundamentals taught.”
Washington doesn’t have much practice time with two scrimmages and the season-opener over the next two weeks.
That leaves Smeins with no practice days with football players ahead of the first scrimmage.
“We have to make some decisions on games,” Smeins said. “A week from today we have the Jamboree, when the guys get back. As soon as we get going, it is a shaky start with the way practice is set up. We go full speed next week and go from there.”
The overlapping season could force Smeins to push back some games.
“We have 10 days of practice before the Mid-Prairie game,” Smeins said. “We may move that game. We may need to move some games around early.”
The season opener is at home against Mid-Prairie, Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m.

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