By Ric Webb
The Brandywine Heights High School boys’ basketball team has had a lot to be pleased about over the past few season. After years of struggling, the Bullets enjoyed two straight winning seasons in Berks League play, including a 6-4 league record last year, good enough for third place in Division 3.
This year, the Bullets will be playing for a new coaching staff, led by the head coach, Ryan Wehr. His team will be in a division with a lot of coaching changes and new inexperienced kids playing big roles on their team this year.
“It’ll be interesting to see who will step up to challenge the teams whofinished at the top of the division last year in Wyomissing and Oley,” said Wehr. “Our players are very hungry to prove to people that they’re a talented group and we’re expecting to work hard daily to be a real competitive basketball team within Berks County.”
The Bullets will be one of those teams that will be relatively inexperienced. There are a total of six juniors and seniors on the roster. They rest will be younger guys who will need to mature early and contribute heavily.
“We’ve got a bunch of scrappy kids who go all out,” said Wehr. “So while we may struggle with execution early in the year we don’t think that effort and energy is going to be a problem for us.”
The team will be led by a trio of seniors - Sean Ziegler, Bryce Galczynski and Zach Tiongson.
Ziegler averaged 6.8 points a game last year as a junior. This year he will be counted on to score more.
“Sean has versatile offensive skills and can score just as easily from the perimeter as he can in the post,” said Wehr. “He’s got a greatwork ethic and is going to help us out on the defensive end as well.”
Galczynski is not one to score a lot of points for the Bullets, but he does have great defensive skills and will be the guy guarding the opponent’s best player.
“He’s a real tough kid and is very athletic,” said Wehr. “In, he played three sports throughout high school and has done a great job in all of them.”
Tiongson is another multi-sport athlete (baseball) who will need to up his offensive contributions this year. He’s a solid player on both ends of the court and will play a much bigger role on the team this year.
“He’s a player that we really like too because of his leadership presence,” said Wehr. “He’s more of a quiet leader, but is a great communicator on the floor. Zach is a guy that we hope our younger players look to as an example of how we want our kids to act and play.”
Jake DeLong is a junior will see some time as both a point guard and number two guard.
“He’s a player that’s going to look to create opportunities for both his teammates and himself to score. He also likes to get out in transition and run.”
It may take a little time for the players and coaches to be on the same page. There is always an adjustment period when a new coach takes over. Right now Wehr just wants his team to continue to improve as the season wears on.
“We’re just looking to compete hard, day-in and day-out,” said Wehr. “We’re really focusing on playing hard, playing smart and playing together each practice and each game. If we’re able do those things, then we’ feel like we’re going to see some positive results.”
The Bullets open their season at Upper Perkiomen on Dec. 12, then will come home to battle Governor Mifflin on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 1 p.m.
According to Wehr, the success of the team will depend on execution.
We’ve told ourkids from day one that we see them putting out tremendous effort each day at open gyms, practices,summer league games, etc. but sometimes our execution is lacking a bit,” said Wehr. “If we can run our offensive sets well, paying attention to the fundamental details, and commit to our defensive principles, then we feel that we’re going to have a really successful season.”