ENTERPRISE — The Enterprise boys basketball team has experience.
And, according to head coach Kyle Crawford, the Outlaws are entering the winter with a different attitude.
“So far I really like what I’m seeing,” he said, noting there are five seniors and five juniors among the players on the varsity roster. “I’ve seen an abundance of growth from last year to this year. There’s just a different vibe. They believe we can accomplish something pretty amazing this season. I’ve worked them harder probably than I did all last year.”
He said there is a higher level of focus on the team, particularly among the seniors. While part of that could be attributed to the spring season having more of a summer-ball feel, he said there is a different approach with the kids who know this is their last season.
“There is a mentality, especially when you become a senior — and these boys, I have worked with them since sixth grade, we have an understanding,” the third-year coach said. “I’m not fighting the same battles with motivation and keeping it 100%. We are all on the same page and want the same thing, and we all believe it can happen.”
Spencer Decker, one of the seniors on the squad, agreed.
“I feel like this year’s team has already shown that we are motivated to win games, and we practice with that goal in mind,” he said, adding he sees team chemistry and a “determination to win” among the team strengths.
Crawford has run a high-speed game, and intends to bring the same approach to the court again, and also emphasize defense.
“I would say I’ve got 11 of my 12 players (who) are extremely athletic,” he said. “They have the ability to push the ball, I think, as fast as any team in the league, and what I would think is faster.
“At the same time, they have enough basketball IQ to know when it’s working and when to lay it off. I like pushing it. I like pressing it. I like mixing it up a little bit.”
On defense, the coach said he has “been putting a lot of emphasis on strategies, different defenses, different presses.”
Among his senior leaders are Spencer Decker and Jackson Decker at the guard positions, and Gideon Gray, Dylan Jennings and Landon Greenshields all in the post, though both Gray and Jennings can play on the wing, as well.
“I think the confidence is pretty high with my seniors especially, and I’m hoping that it’s not fragile,” the coach said. “Part of every season is going to have some ups and downs. Everybody feels like they got the right stuff going for us.”
Enterprise hosts Wallowa on Wednesday, Dec. 1 to open the season. Contests to keep an eye on include a Dec. 14 in-county game at Joseph and a Dec. 30 home matchup against Stanfield to open Blue Mountain Conference play.
“From what I have seen so far, I think our team is capable of being a contender in our league,” Decker said.