Defense a key to Tigers’ unbeaten start

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

HOWARDS GROVE – The Howards Grove Tigers are off to a 9-0 start, fueled by a strong defense.

The Tigers lead the Big East Conference with a 6-0 record. One of their top goals this season is to win the ECC regular-season championship. HG is currently ranked No. 2 in the Division 4 wissports.net coaches’ poll behind Milwaukee Destiny.

Destiny defeated the Tigers in a D-4 sectional final last season, 70-58, to earn a trip to state where the Eagles earned the title.

“Our goals don’t change from year to year. We always want to win the conference, win regionals, win sectionals and win the WIAA state tournament. Outside of those we do have other goals we discuss and come up with as a team,” said second-year Tiger head coach Wade Georgeff.

The Tigers return a good nucleus from last season’s team which finished 20-7. HG has one All-Big East Conference player back in senior forward Eric Reinemann who was a secondteam pick.

Reinemann leads the team in scoring with a 19.8 points-pergame average and rebounding at 9.3 per contest.

“So far we are off to a great start. We have played some really good teams so far and it’s very encouraging to see how we stacked up against them. Our defense is always going to be what we hang our hat on and take a ton of pride in.”

Georgeff said other keys to the team’s success have been rebounding and patience on offense.

“We’d like nothing more then to run up and down the court but so far everyone has played zone against us. So, while it may slow us down a bit, we still average 58 points a game,” he said.

“Our ability to hold teams to one shot per possession has helped. I was a little leery about how we’d rebound this year but so far we have done a great job.”

The coach offered his thoughts on the conference.

“I think the conference is tough once again. Year after year this conference produces some really good players and teams,” observed Georgeff.

“There are a lot of very good and talented coaches in the conference as well. That’s what makes trying to pick a favorite so tough. Everyone is well-prepared.

“I’d like to think we are a contender for the conference title. If we keep doing what we are doing defensively and clean up some of those other issues, we have as good a shot as anybody,” said the coach.

Hilbert is the defending BEC regular-season and tournament champion. The Tigers tied for third in the regular-season with a 9-4 record. Manitowoc Lutheran is ranked No. 8 in the D-4 poll.


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