Depew is a more versatile and deeper team this season, which should allow it to attack opponents in a variety of ways. (File photo)Depth, versatility gives Wildcats many options
With the deepest roster it has had in seven years, the Depew High School boys basketball team has a plethora of ways to win this season.
The Wildcats have talent in all different areas, which will help them attack in a variety of different ways.
“We want to be prepared to play against anyone in any style,” Depew coach Larry Jones said. “We don’t want to be kind of pigeon-holed as only being able to play one way.”
“We’re still trying to play fast at times and other times we’ll slow it down and get into some offensive sets,” he added.
Junior guard Derrick Sekuterski, in his fourth varsity seasons, seems primed for a big season. He’ll serve as a co-captain, along with senior guard Nathaniel Hyman, who is currently battling a rib injury.
Sekuterski and Hyman are among a number of standout football players now looking to excel in basketball.
Centers Mike Lamb and Steve Kasprzak were standouts on the football offensive line, forward Cody Penner was a standout receiver and guard Rodney Turner was the leading rusher.
The soccer team is also represented as leading-scorer Johan Lopez will play forward on the basketball court.
“The football team has had great success and a lot of those are football kids, so hopefully we can build off their success,” Jones said. “We’ve been on a great roll the last few years with a lot of great athletes that can get some things done.”
With Jaden Cotton, a three-year varsity standout and last year’s leading scorer, now playing football at the University at Buffalo, the Wildcats will need contributions from others inside.
Lamb will see increased playing time “if he continues to earn it,” Jones said, and 6-foot-7 senior Garrett Zmich will also see time in the paint.
But, Jones said, “there may be times we go with a smaller lineup without any bigs in it at all. We have a number of different ways we can play with this group.”
A lot of what the team does will start with Sekuterski but a number of others will have a major impact.
At guard, Justin Crawley enjoyed a strong preseason and junior Denis Vanini is expected to contribute at the varsity level this season after a strong junior varsity campaign as a sophomore. Turner is also expected to make an impact, especially at the defensive end.
Two more sophomores, Tyler Anna and Robert Burns are also expected to contribute.
“This is probably as deep as we’ve been since 2006-07,” Jones said. “We’re 9 or 10 deep right now and that may grow.”More-experienced Depew girls basketball squad looks to get back to winning ways
With the bulk of last year’s club back, the Depew High School girls basketball team has its sights set on returning to winning ways this season.
Eight of the 10 players from last year’s team are back this season, so the Wildcats are hoping the added experience can add up to more victories.
“We’re looking pretty good,” coach Jackie Walker said. “We only lost two from last year so we have a lot back. It’s a clean slate for everyone and we’re looking for everyone to step up.
The Wildcats finished the season at 6-14 last year, but they performed well in the postseason.
After winning its playoff opener 55-26 over Medina, Depew took Section VI finalist Springville down to the wire before falling, 54-47.
“We had that close game with Springville in the playoffs, so there’s a little bit of a sour taste in our mouths from that,” Walker said. “We want to get that game back.”
Last year’s club had five sophomores on the roster and that added experience will be invaluable.
After preseason went well, the Wildcats are anxious to see what they can do against some top competition.
“I think we’re looking good so far,” said junior point guard Chelsea Buono. “We work well as a team and we want to do as well as we can.”
Leading the junior class this season will be forward Sam Wayne, a third-year varsity player. She scored 6.2 points and grabbed 7.5 rebounds per game last season.
Buono also returns after starting as a sophomore and averaging 7.6 points per game and leading the team with 32 assists.
Sophomore forward Gillian Wittig leads the crop of newcomers.
“We’re looking pretty good,” Wayne said. “We lost two, but most of the same team is back and we gained a few good players from the JV team. So hopefully we’ll be good this year.”
Perennial power Pioneer will be the ECIC Division III team to beat as always and Springville will be in the mix as well. But the Wildcats hope to be in the hunt come season’s end.
“Our league is pretty tough, it always is,” Walker said. “But I expect to do pretty well.”