Trio leads Hannahville boys’ cagers

Prep basketball preview

Courtesy photo Members of the 2017-18 Hannahville boys’ basketball team are front row from left: Austin Willis, Dayton Robitaille, John Meshigaud, Tristan Halfaday, Franny Kidd, Jack Philemon, Xander Spry and Jimmie Potvin. Back row from left are: Mequon Jackson, Jacob Ortiz, Mason Thunder, Joe Larson, Coach Mark Gauthier. Chad Harris, Dominic Metzger, Damon Sagataw and Shaye Halfaday.

HANNAHVILLE — The Hannahville boys are counting on three seniors to lead the way as they enter this basketball season.

Hannahville, which has 16 on its roster, opens with a pair of home games against Mackinac Island Dec. 8-9.

Senior returners are 6-foot-0 forward Chad Harris, 5-9 guard Jacob Ortiz and 5-7 guard Jimmie Potvin.

“Chad will play down low,” said second-year coach Mark Gauthier. “He will take over the position mostly Ira Meshigaud and David Welling played last year. Chad’s shooting has come around and Jacob will guard one of the other team’s top players. At times, Jacob shot the three pretty decently last year. We’re looking for him the be an outside threat. Jimmie didn’t get a lot of playing time last year, but he has played pretty well in practice. He’s a pretty good defender.

“Our seniors are definitely the leaders of the team. We need them to help the younger guys, and we have a lot of younger guys.”

Also returning are freshmen Joe Larson (6-3 point guard/shooting guard) and Mason Thunder (5-11 forward) and eighth-graders Dominic Metzger (5-11 forward) and Shea Halfaday (5-9 guard).

“Joe put in the most work during the summer,” said Gauthier. “We’re looking for him to be our go-to guy in tough situations. Shea also put a lot of work in during the summer. He’s a good outside shooter. He has improved his decision making and dribbling.”

Newcomers are 5-9 junior guard Franny Kidd, a transfer from Gladstone, and 5-7 freshman guard Dayton Robitaille who transferred from Escanaba. Kidd, however won’t be eligible until January.

“Franny can pass and shoot and is showing good leadership. We’re happy with what he has done,” said Gauthier.

“Dayton is a quick kid. We look for him to contribute on the defensive end.”

Gauthier likes what he has seen from the Soaring Eagles overall in pre-season drills.

“We have a lot of quick guys and good athletes,” he said. “Our practices have been better than last year. At the end of last season, I challenged the guys to stay in shape and work on their game during the summer, and most of them have done that. We definitely need to shoot better. Also, we turned the ball over too much last year. We need to get to the basket more and rebound better.”

One can look for the Soaring Eagles to untilize the entire floor as they have in the past.

“We’ll try to do some uptempo,” said Gauthier. “We will also play some half-court offense. We’ll try to pressure the other teams. Speed is one of the aspects we definitely excel in.”

Gauthier points to Maplewood Baptist, Beaver Island and Mackinac Island as the frontrunners in the Northern Lights League.

“Mackinac Island lost some of its top players, but they return a good point guard,” he said. “We’ll try to double-team him and make somebody else try to beat us. I think we’ll be in the middle of the pack. Ojibwe (Charter) lost a few players. I think we can be right in there with them. We need to make the jump and beat a few teams we shouldn’t beat. We have to make the clutch basket when we need to. We need to execute.”

The schedule:

Dec. 8-9 — Mackinac Island

Dec. 15-16 — at Beaver Island

Jan. 9 — at Grand Marais

Jan. 18 — Munising Baptist

Jan. 19-20 — Paradise

Jan. 22 — at Big Bay de Noc

Jan. 26-27 — at Kinross Maplewood Baptist

Jan. 30 — Grand Marais

Feb. 2-3 — Bay Mills Ojibwe Charter

Feb. 9-10 — at Mackinac Island

Feb. 13 — at Munising Baptist

Feb. 16-17 — NLL tournament.