The Zionsville Freshman team has their season opener tonight against non-conference opponent Lafayette Harrison Raiders. The Eagles take to the court with an eleven-man roster. Six starters from the 2016-2017 ZMS and Z’West teams account for over half of the team. The freshman roster consist of ZMS starters Zach Whitham and Kyle Reasoner. Z’West provided starters Connor Jones, Carson Wagoner, Alec McCarty, and Cole Maxwell. Rounding out this season’s roster is ZMS’s Jack Raborn, Owen Prickett, Sam Miller, Price Turner, and Luke Nolan. The Freshman will have to do without ZMS point guard starter Dylan Ritter as he was called up to the JV team.
The Freshman coaches Rick Hackler and his brother Scott Hackler are beginning their 20th season coaching High School basketball. Their expectations for their players this season is no different from the expectation of their past players – “to be the best each can be, on and off the court.”
“For most of my sports life, I thought my life was going well if my team was winning, and if the outcome was bad, well, I was bad. If the outcome continued to be bad, my attitude towards my team and teammates was bad. The Hackler’s helped me realize that I have been experiencing the world through outcomes, reminding me that the point of life is not the destination, but the journey. From that moment on and throughout my life, I learned that while the journey may be joyful or painful at times, it is necessary. The Hackler’s helped me learn to enjoy the journey by focusing on improving myself, fixing my heart on God’s process for me and that outcomes will take care of themselves. The coaches truly cared about ME and how I developed as a young man.”
– Chris Mislan (Former basketball player at Trine University and former basketball player for the Hackler’s at Roncalli High School)
The Eagles have had only a short time to prepare for their season opener but these kids have been working hard. Winning the war on the boards and playing smart aggressive defense is a top priority for this team. Playing as opponents of each other for many years (ZMS vs Z’West); in order for them to maximize their full potential, all players on the court have to share the responsibility of playing both offense and defense and work together.
Both, 1)pressuring the ball forcing opponents to make quicker decisions, which often leads to mistakes and/or turnovers, and; 2) working hard to be in position to get rebounds then being strong with the ball after obtaining possession, has been a huge focus for this team over the past weeks.
The Freshman have a tough schedule before them with Harrison tonight, Carmel tomorrow and upcoming opponents such as Brownsburg, Lawrence North, Pike, and Fishers, to name a few. This team will be tested throughout the season and more often than not, it will come down to the team’s true grit and their willingness to leave it all on the court for 24 minutes.