Superior Central Cougars boys basketball team rebuilds with short roster, new coach
Superior Central boys
All times Eastern
Dec. 12 — at Forest Park, 8 p.m.
Dec. 14 — Brimley, 11 a.m.
Dec. 16 — North Central, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 18 — at Munising, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 9 — at Big Bay de Noc, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 13 — at Mid Peninsula, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 16 — at North Dickinson, 8 p.m.
Jan. 20 — Republic-Michigamme, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 24 — at Stephenson, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 28 — at Carney-Nadeau, 7:45 p.m.
Jan. 31 — Rapid River, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 4 — Mid Peninsula, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 7 — Engadine, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 11 — at Rapid River, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 14 — Forest Park, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 18 — Stephenson, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 24 — at Norway, 8 p.m.
Feb. 28 — at Gwinn, 7:30 p.m.
March 4 — Munising, 7:30 p.m.
March 5 — Bark River-Harris, 7:30 p.m.
EBEN — The Superior Central boys’ basketball team finished last season around the .500 mark, but new head coach Harry Robbins feels improvement is definitely possible with the team chemistry he’s seen.
“We had a scrimmage this past Saturday with Newberry, who (dropped) down to Division 4 this year,” he said. “It was a real good scrimmage.
“They’re really coming together. I have Lucas Kanerva and Parker Maki as the captains, and they’re taking a lot of control over things. Everything is just falling into place right now.”
Robbins takes over for Branson Richard, who resigned at the end of last season. Robbins has some experience with basketball, serving more than 15 years on various staffs.
He was JV boys coach at SC last season, and before that, worked with freshman teams along with seventh- and eighth-grade teams in Munising for nearly a decade.
Three players look likely to give the Cougars a size advantage in a majority of their games.
“We have three big boys right now,” Robbins said. “Mason Porter — a 6-(foot-)5 junior, Jeremy Koski, a 6-5 senior, and Will Carlson, who will be the starting center at 6-4.”
The Cougars have five more players on their eight-man roster.
“We’ll have Mikey Rondeau at 5-10 playing forward, and Kyle Frusti and Parker Maki — both 6-foot — playing guard,” the coach said. “Lucas Kanerva (6-foot) will play forward. Matthew McLaury (5-8) will also be a guard, and we’re looking for him to step up.”
Robbins feels the shortage of players could hold the team back.
“I think the only thing we’re going to be a little weak on is depth,” he said. “We have four seniors, and one senior that came out this year hasn’t played since eighth grade — I was glad to see him come out — so if we get into a deep game (depth might be a problem). I also have one other who’s academically ineligible for the first five games.”
Superior Central has a tough schedule to open its season. Four games against tough opponents in a six-day window will test the team.
“We have four games with four of the tougher teams in the U.P.,” Robbins said. “Crystal Falls (Forest Park) went to the regional finals last year, Brimley was No. 1 in the state for three-quarters of the year, North Central has a tradition that’s just unreal, and Munising right now has a powerhouse that’s just unreal.
“Then we have 21 days off. We’re going to use these first four games as a learning (tool), so we can see what we can do and what we can fix because we won’t have a lot of time between games to work on that.”
The Cougars’ mood is elevated, but Robbins advises a game-by-game approach.
“The kids are excited,” he said. “We had a good scrimmage, and we had some good practices. I told them it’s going to be one day at a time and one game at a time — there’s some tough teams out there.”