Although last year's 3-7 Berks League record doesn't sound all that impressive, it was considering that the Fleetwood High boys' basketball team had won a total of one league game over the previous three seasons.
Head coach Terry Sitler took over the team last year and his goal was simply to see some wins by the end of the season.
Although his goal are still pretty much the same, he also believes that a playoff berth is very much a possibility. He will have a very experienced team, with a possibility of three starting seniors.
“Our team is working very hard since the close of last season, and confident that significant improvements can and will be made,” said Sitler. “Being my second year - my coaching style, philosophy and expectations are now firmly in place and the team is all on the same page.
“Even though we had a decent season last year, the players feel that they are not getting the respect from county and it's giving them a little extra motivation. We are building something good here, from the youth program up to through the varsity program. I feel we will still be overlooked by many and will surprise even more.”
Leading the team will be senior starters Kyle Flannery, Brian Schumacher and Clay Weidemoyer. Flannery is a 6'-7” center who runs the floor very well. Schumacher is a 6'-4” guard or forward who is very athletic with the ability to dominate a game. Weidemoyer, a 6'-3” forward will provide a strong inside presence for the Tigers.
Jr. Jared Reaser (5'-8”, guard) is the best outside shooter on the team. Justin Hummel is a potential starter as a freshman. According to Sitler, he hands the ball and sees the floor well.
Others on the team will be: Wes Hawkins, 6'-1” senior guard or forward; Andrew Moran, 6'-2” senior forward; Tyler Nolt, 6'-2” junior forward; Matt Hook, 6'-4” junior forward or center; and Kabe Kotsch, 6'-2”junior guard.
“This year we have a veteran team,” said Sitler.“All have extensive varsity experience (with the exception of the freshman).
“In addition to that, they have a drive in them to prove to everyone how good they can be. We have been playing together as a team since the end of last season in an extensive off-season program that has done wonders in developing the chemistry and providing opportunities for individual and team growth.”
The team quickly learned the way Coach Sitler wants his players to play the game. Now they come back this year ready to make a dent in the division. They have the size (three players that are 6'-3” or taller), the speed, the experience and the depth to win some games. They will not have a superstar who scored 25 points a game, but Coach Sitler believes he has six or seven players who can score 10 points.
More than anything, Sitler likes the attitude of the team.
“The players have the determination to make themselves a better team, to change the recent perception of Fleetwood boys basketball,” said Sitler. “Our size and speed could catch people off guard. Four returning starters, plus adding a freshman point guard that is better than what they have had at Fleetwood in many years.”
What Sitler most wants to do for the program is to change the reputation from that of a losing program to that of a contender. His team has taken the first step toward that goal, but the toughest steps are yet to come. Can they be a contender this year?
Only time will tell.