EBEN - Herb Jenkins says his 2011-12 Superior Central High School boys basketball team learned how to be competitive.
This season, the head coach expects his Cougars to turn the corner and "win more than our fair share."
"If we don't have any injuries, we have a chance to be good," the second-year SC coach said.
"We had good summer camps and the kids are itching to get going. They've gone through the learning curve of having a new coach."
The Cougars, who went 11-11 last season overall and 6-6 in the Central U.P. League, return all but one player lost to graduation in Alex Freberg.
Leading the returnees are All-Central U.P. League First Team players Trevor Maki (6-foot senior guard-forward) and Matt Verbrigghe (6-4 senior forward). Both were named to the All-Upper Peninsula Class D Second Team in 2011-12.
Superior Central boys
Dec. 3 - Big Bay de Noc, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 7 - At Negaunee, 7:45 p.m.
Dec. 13 - Stephenson, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 15 - At Menominee, 5 p.m.
Dec. 19 - Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 28 - At Gwinn, 6 or 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 8 - At Engadine, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 10 - Bark River-Harris, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 12 - At North Central, 6 p.m.
Jan. 15 - At Dollar Bay, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 17 - Mid Peninsula, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 22 - Carney-Nadeau, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 25 - At Rapid River, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 1 - Munising, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 5 - Rapid River, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 12 - Engadine, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 14 - At Munising, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 22 - Gwinn, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 25 - At Big Bay de Noc, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 28 - At BR-Harris, 7:30 p.m.
Maki notched 378 points during the regular season; Verbrigghe tossed in 301 to go with 8.1 rebounds a game.
"Trevor is physical, smart and our best shooter," Jenkins said. "Matt is our slasher. It's hard to defend him when he comes in from the perimeter. It's a mismatch every time.
"They want to win and are poised for a good season."
Also back are seniors Tyler Kienitz and Skyler Lloyd; juniors Nicholas Maki, Cody Maki and Justyn Hill; and sophomore Zach Evans.
"Cody is an outstanding player and Kienitz is a strong, fast kid," the coach said.
New to the Cougars this season are senior Dan Stewart (6-3 forward) and Price Richards (6-5 center).
"Richards is super athletic and a smart kid," Jenkins said, "and Hill is a banger inside.
"We have 4-5 kids who could all score 20 points a game."
He said the Cougars will be multi-talented.
"We can rebound, we have some height and we can play all different tempos," Jenkins said. "We can also attack other teams at their weakness."
Having an experienced group of players is a big plus, the coach said.
"In practice, we can work on certain things," Jenkins said. "We can work on being better basketball players as opposed to just reacting in games."
He added he'll likely roll eight different players in the starting rotation, depending on the matchups he wants.
Jenkins said his team's schedule this season has been upgraded with the likes of Negaunee, Menominee and Ewen-Trout Creek.
"We aren't going to have a lot of cupcake games," he said, adding the Cougars will meet all three of those teams within the first five games on SC's schedule.
"We think we can play with anyone," Jenkins said. "The core players of this team are unselfish and want to win. I feel real good about this team."
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.