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[Posted: May 12, 2016]
Spring Workouts

“Basketball players are made in the off season.” Most of us have seen that saying on a t-shirt at one time or another.  I definitely think it’s true.  We had a post season meeting with our team the week after the sectional.  I mentioned to our players that we had 34 weeks until official practice started.  That’s nearly 240 days!  I asked them to envision how good they could be if they used the next 34 weeks to work on their game.  It is conceivable and certainly probable that any player in our program would significantly improve their game if they decided to dedicate themselves in the off season.  Just think about it…. If a player got in the weight room 3x a week for 34 weeks, he would record over 100 strength and conditioning sessions!  Athletically speaking, the player wouldn’t be the same next November!

Many of our guys have already made significant gains in the weight room.  We lift on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  We have a session in the morning before school for our players who are participating in a spring sport. We run and a second session after school for our guys who aren’t in a spring sport.  Most of our kids have given a great effort in these optional strength and conditional sessions.   A special thank you goes out to Jordan Hawkins for covering the morning strength and conditioning sessions for me.  His generosity with is time enables me to open up the gym in the mornings for guys who want to work on their games.

Besides our strength and conditioning sessions, we also are having a open gyms a couple of times per week.  A special thank you to Bruce Wade for running our open gyms.  He has  done a nice job organizing this and providing our guys another opportunity to play.

A new addition to  our basketball program that I’m really excited about is our middle school strength and conditioning program.  We are currently running it 2 days per week.  This is an age appropriate training program that will actually help strengthen their skeletal and muscular systems as well as their connective tissue.  The goal is to build great training habits and a solid foundation of efficient movement.  We  work on developing basic coordination through a variety of movements, drills and strength training exercises.  Our middle school athletes are learning how to run and jump properly, how to control their body in space and how to move efficiently.  

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[Posted: April 19, 2016]
Body Language

A typical conversation with one of my students starts like this, “Good morning Joe.  How are you doing this morning?”  Joe replies, “I’m tired”  It’s actually quite remarkable how often this conversation occurs in the hallway and classrooms of Loogootee.  To be fair, this dialogue  is not unique to Loogootee.  It happens in schools, offices, and factories all over the country.   I often suggest to “Joe” to “fake it” for a while and he will have a better day.

 What I mean by “fake it” is to have good body language.  Motivational speaker and personal finance instructor, Tony Robbins, says that “physiology dictates your psychology.”  In other words, your body language dictates your state of mind.  I couldn’t agree more.  Not only do I agree that one’s body language can and does affects one’s attitude, I think a person’s body language affects his classmates, coworkers and teammates attitudes.  Somebody with negative body language can have a negative impact on his school, workplace, or team without saying a word.

 I believe that people fall into 1 of 2 categories.  You are either an “Energy Giver” or and “Energy Taker”.  If you want to be the type of person who breathes life into his/her school, place of work, or team, you must have great body language.  If you want to perform at your best, you must exhibit empowering body language.  I encourage our players to be cognizant of their body language so that they can be “Energy Giver.”

Here are 6 tips to exhibiting positive body language:

  1. Smile.

  2. Make eye contact.

  3. Stand or sit upright.

  4. Have open  hands when speaking to someone.

  5. Make sure your feet are pointing toward the person in which you are speaking.

  6. Avoid fidgeting.

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[Posted: April 6, 2016]
Toughness Wins

I love the NCAA Tournament and I think most of America loves the NCAA Tournament.  A lot of people don’t follow college basketball all year, but once they fill out their brackets in March, they become passionate about the sport until it concludes on the first Monday in April.

Hopefully you watched this year’s championship game, because it was one for the ages.  What an exciting game!  I’ll be honest, I didn’t see Villanova play much during the season, but once I saw them play in the tournament I quickly jumped on the bandwagon.  The thing I liked about them the most was their TOUGHNESS. I’m not sure that the most talented team won on Monday night, but the TOUGHEST team certainly did.

Us coaches are always preaching toughness to our teams.  Every one of us has certain go to quotes on toughness that we share with our teams.  ESPN analyst, Jay Bilas wrote an article on toughness that should be required reading for every serious high school basketball player.  In the article, Jay gives examples of how toughness is exhibited on the court.  He later used the article as a blueprint for a book that I would also highly recommend.  Here is a link to his article:  http://www.mdbball.com/Documents/ToughnessbyJayBilas.pdf   and you can find his book “Toughness” on Amazon.

Tough players focus on two things: Attitude and Effort. I think Villanova’s players were great examples of this.  When you think about it, Attitude and Effort are really the only two things any of us can control, so why would you waste any time worrying about something else?.  Individually and collectively we often get sidetracked and veer off course when we let things outside our control become more important than Attitude and Effort. Villanova had a laser sharp focus throughout the tournament.  Nothing seem to rattle them…. Nothing seemed veer them off course.   They were a fun team to watch.  I only wish I would have jumped on the bandwagon a little sooner!

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[Posted: April 5, 2016]
Torg Stories

Bill Torgerson (aka Torg) is a long-time friend and old college teammate of mine.  After graduating from from Olivet Nazarene University Torg became a teacher and high school basketball coach, but eventually decided to become a writer and professor. When we were teammates, Torg always seemed a little more “intellectual” than the rest of us, so it’s not surprising that he decided to take his talents out of the gym and into literature.  Currently, he is a professor at St. John’s University in Queens and has written books including, “Love On The Big Screen”, “The Coach’s Wife” and “Horseshoe.”  He also is a podcaster who  hosts Torg Stories.

I was a guest on the Torg Stories podcast last week.  I  know that many of you had a chance to listen to the interview because I received quite a bit of positive feedback.  If you didn’t get to listen, I would encourage you to check out Torg Stories: Life Isn’t Fair- Coach Kent Chezem Edition.  I also think his books would be interesting  reading for us here in the midwest.  Torg has always been a great story teller and uses his experiences of growing up in small town Indiana to tell his stories.

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[Posted: March 10, 2016]
Blue Chip All Conference Team Announced

Cogratulations to senior Jake Blackwell, and junior Tye Collins for being named to the Blue Chip All Conference team. Also congratulations to sophomore Jayden Wagoner for being named honorable mention.

Here is a list of the final Blue Chip Conference Standings and the 12 man All Conference team.

 

Barr Reeve

8-0

Loogootee

6-2

South Knox

6-2

Wood Memorial

6-2

Vincennes Rivet

4-4

Northeast Dubois

3-5

North Knox

2-6

Shoals

1-7

Washington Catholic

0-8

 

Logan James (Sr)   

 Barr-Reeve

Trevor Lengacher(Jr)   

 Barr-Reeve

Trevor Yoder (Sr)   

 Barr-Reeve

Jake Blackwell (Sr)

 Loogootee

Tye Collins (Jr)  

 Loogootee

Isiah Stafford (Sr)  

 South Knox

Brandon Fickling (Soph)  

 South Knox

Paxon Bartley (Fr)  

Wood Memorial

Walker Nurrenbern(Soph)

Wood Memorial

Tanner Thomas (Sr)

Vincennes Rivet

Caden Fields (Sr)

North Knox

AJ Sellers (Sr)  

Washington Catholic

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[Posted: ]
New Fitness Facility Is Here!

Pro Industries was here on Monday to deliver some of our new equipment and start installation.  They returned on Wednesday to finish up the job.  I can't believe how quickly they worked.  Those guys absolutely got after it!  Pro Industries has a great reputation in the industry, and after working with them the past few months it is easy to see why.  They are extremely knowledgeable and professional.  They make their own equipment, and it is obvious that they take pride in their work.  They have turned our space into a facility that should meet the many diverse needs of our students and staff.

I have shared some pictures below so you can see the new facility.  I am really excited for our students and staff.  I think we hit a home run with this new space.  I commend the school board for making the comittment to upgrading our facilites.  We have a quality Fitness Facility that will service our students and staff for many years to come!

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[Posted: February 29, 2016]
Sectional Dinner With Coach Brett

We held the annual sectional dinner this weekend and were fortunate to have former Lion player and coach, Steve Brett in attendance as our guest speaker.  Coach Brett retired last spring from Shakamak high school, but people in Loogootee know that he is one this town’s biggest contributors to the Loogootee basketball program.  After finishing a stellar playing career at Loogoote in which he never lost a home game, he went on to play at Indiana State. Upon graduation he embarked on a 43 year coaching career (37 as a head coach) which included stops at Bloomfield, Seymour, Loogootee, and Shakamak.  He amassed 467 wins and after returning to Loogootee he led the home town Lions to a Class A State Runner-up finish in 2005.

Coach Brett gave a great talk about the some of the history Loogootee basketball.  He gave insight on some of the great wins and even some of the heart breaking defeats that Loogootee has had over the years.  He also advised our players to alway remember to, “Respect all, but fear none.”  “Leave it all on the floor each night.”  “Play with poise and confidence.” “Listen to your coaches…” and “Blockout!”

It was a real treat for our players and staff to get to spend some time with Coach Brett.  We were certainly honored and excited to have him come back.  Hopefully we can take his advice and put it to good use on the floor this week.

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[Posted: February 18, 2016]
7th Grade Wins HBA Tourney – February 14th

From The Desk of Mark Potts….

 
The 7th grade boys Basketball team went 2-0 ln pool play by defeating Barr-Reeve in their first game and Shakamak in game two.  The Lions won each game in pool play by double digits.  We came out a little rusty in the Barr Reeve game, as we had not played since the end of January.  It took the team most of the first half to get in the flow of things, and once we did they took off.  Against Shakamak we used our size and speed to come away with the victory.  After winning pool B, we had to play in a single elimination tourney.  With 4 teams left, opened up the tournament with a victory over Barr-Reeve.  The win moved us into the championship game against Evansville Central.  Evansville Central played an aggressive game, trapping on defense, pressing, and pushing the ball up the floor.  We went into the second half trailing 20-21.  "In the first half, we let their play dictate how we played.  We started rushing things, not getting back on defense, and we didn't play the way we normally do. "  The Lions turned the tables in the second half.  We did a great job of getting the ball in the middle of the floor and not letting their defense determine how we play.  We got several lay ups out of the press and hit some outside shots from good penetration and kicks which prevailed us to get the double digit win.  The 7th grade, including this tournament and season, move to 29-1 on the year!

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[Posted: February 16, 2016]
7th Grade Round- Up

From The Desk of Mark Potts…

7th Loses Buzzer-Beater to Bedford
 
The 7th grade boys basketball team lost their first game of the year on a last second 3 pointer at Bedford Middle School.  We jumped out to a quick lead ending the first quarter with a 12-4 lead.  Jalen Wildman started out hot in the quarter leading the way with 7 points and Levi Pendley chipped in with 5.  The tide turned in the 2nd and 3rd quarter as Linons went ice cold from outside and inside.  We scored 2 points in the 2nd and 0 in the 3rd but our defense kept us in the game as we only allowed Bedord to score 4, 4, and 5 points in the first 3 quarters.  For the 4th quarter, we continued our cold shooting for the first 4 minutes and were down 6 points with around 1:45 in the game.  The 7th grade fought back to take a 1 point lead with 10 seconds left in the game by good penetration and dump offs along with some clutch free throw shooting.  We had a foul to give and fouled around the half court line with a little over 4 seconds left.  Bedford inbounded the ball, kicked to their post player, who buried a 3 pointer as time expired to win the ball game 26-24.   "Defensively, we did everything I asked of them.  We made Bedford inbound behind half court, got the ball out of their best players hands and made them take a difficult shot.  The ball just went in the basket."  For me, many good things came from this game that I saw.  Defensively, except for 1 or 2 possessions they played great.  When it came down to crunch time, they hit free throws (10-11).  They fought back when things seemed to be getting out of hand to take a lead with 10 seconds left.  "This group showed, even though they lost this game, they can win on any given night just based on defense, which is a deadly weapon to have because the offense is not going to be there every single game.  Great teams can rely on defense to win games, tough games, and down the road, sectional championship games.  "I am very proud of the way the team fought, never quit, and made clutch free throws. It just wasn't meant to be." The lose moves the 7th grade to 24-1.
 
7th grade Wins Last Season Game of the Year
 The 7th grade bounced back from their first loss of the year to beat the North Daviess Cougars 37-15.  Defensively, we played great in the first half (also playing with a little anger from the last game).  After the fist quarter, we jumped out to an 18-0 lead and never looked back.  Levi Pendley led the way with 14 points, followed by Silas Bauer with 10 points, Jalen Wildman chipped in with 5 followed by his brother Jordan with 4, and chipping in 2 points each was Bryant Eckerle and Jace Walton. 

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[Posted: February 15, 2016]
Loogootee 4th/5th Grade Wins 6th Grade LBC/HBA Shootout

From The Desk of Jeff Bledsoe…

Young Lions faced Edgewood in their first game and jumped out to a quick 32-13 lead.  Lions speed and aggressive play was too much for the much bigger Edgewood team.  Solid play in the 2nd half helped them hang on to lead the and come away with a 44-22 win.  Nearly everyone got in the scoring column. Peyton Bledsoe led Lions with 19 and Lucas Brittain finshed with 7.
 
Up next for the Lions was a tough Bedford team.  Lions trailed nearly the entire game and went into the half down 24-22.  Still trailing at the end of the 3rd by the same margin, the Lions found themselves down by as many as 5 mid way through the 4th but battled back.  Double teamed and trailing by 1 with 12 seconds left Peyton Bledsoe came off a high screen, split the defense and spun back to the middle to hit a jumper to put Lions up one and come away with a 43-42 victory. Zone defense from a bigger Bedford team forced the Lions to shoot outside where they connected on 6-10 from 3pt range.  Peyton Bledsoe led Lions with 28 followed by Brandon Bledsoe with 6 Isaac Eagle and Lucas Brttain with 5 and 4 respectively.
 
Facing Evansville North in the finals the young lions were well undersized but proved to be the most fundamental and aggressive team on the court.  Utilizing our spread offense the lions were able to spread the court and pull the Huskies out of their zone driving the middle and creating high percentage shots.  Up 11 going into the 4th forced the Huskies to press and trap which played in the Lions favor.  Loogootee held on to win 42-32 and shot 18-27 from the field for 65% while holding Evansville North to 10-36 shooting.  Peyton Bledsoe had 19 and 6 assists.  Drew Walker came off the bench and sparked the Lions with 11 Big points.  Lucas Brittain set the tone defensively and finished with 6 points. Loogootee next tourney will be a 24 team tourney in Jasper in which they will try and defend their 2015 championship.  
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