By Ben Murphy
The season may be young but Clare boys’ basketball head coach Rob Wise is already full of confidence in his squad.
“We have developed some nice chemistry so far,” the 10th year coach Wise said. “I believe this team will do so e great things this year. (Hopefully we) compete every night and compete for the JPC.”
Returning from last year’s 12-10 overall and 8-6 Jack Pine Conference team are seniors Colton Punches (guard, eight points per game, five rebounds), Seth Harton (forward), Matthew Magnus (forward), juniors Scott Smith (forward, 12 points per game, five rebounds, second team all-conference), Mason Packard (forward) and Connor Clickner (guard, six points per game, two assists).
New to the team are juniors Sam Adkins (guard), Erik Hasenfratz (forward), Ryan Seiter (guard), sophomore Max Swan (center) and freshman Travis Vida (guard).
“Clickner and Punches will be valuable guards,” Wise said. “Smith will be big in the post if he can fully recover from a broken leg. We have some nice shooters. Clickner at the point will be key. If he can push the ball and get the ball in the scorers hands we will be pretty good.”
The Pioneers last won the JPC in 2012. Another title will be a challenge in what the coach sees as a balanced conference.
“Meridian and Roscommon should be the favorites,” Wise said. “Overall, the league will be better than the last few years. I believe that most teams could beat anyone on a given night.”
Clare opened the season at home against Breckenridge on Wednesday night and hosts Houghton Lake tonight (Friday) in its JPC opener. The Pioneers return to action on Wednesday at defending JPC champion Beaverton.