Hawk Hetherington

Marcus Clem | Atchison Globe

Marcus Hetherington, left, defends against Mason Hawk during practice drills on Nov. 21 at the gym of Atchison County Community Junior-Senior High School. Veteran coach Troy Hoffman has taken over after a winless 2018 Tiger season.

Basketball is as much of an art as a science, but there may be a logical rule that governs success in the sport: Drill, determination and direction equals a path to success.

It is almost an arithmetical fact, one might say, for new Head Coach Troy Hoffman, who has migrated from McLouth to coach boys hoops and teach math

at Atchison County

Community High School.

With his experience in the Northeast Kansas League, Hoffman also knows how important it is for a team to be motivated to take on a tough opponent, as he confidently believes the Tigers are.

“The boys’ level of play rises exponentially as they encounter good competition,” he said. “It’ll be a good league this year. We look forward to the challenge.”

Hoffman has been leading young men on the court for about 30 years now, and aims to eventually retire with this as his last job.

At the moment, there is some work to do. ACCHS didn’t win a single game last year. Yet there is no reason, from the perspective of a newcomer coach, or any outsider looking in, why that must recur in any respect.

Indeed, the Tigers could be a contender.

Trystin Myers is well known as one of the fastest high schoolers in the state. His state chamionship in high hurdles last year sets him up to be an inspiration for all the athletes around him this year as a senior leader on the boys basketball squad, and a constant threat on the court.

Tucker Smith, an all-league honorable mention last year, will play guard as a senior, and Hoffman regards him as a coach’s ideal player from the perspective of natural talent and ability to learn.

Joining them in the senior group will be Marcus Hetherington, Evan Caudle and Levi Navinsky. Hoffman praised Caudle’s instinctive court awareness, which has been an example for others.

“These boys anticipate where the ball will be; they don’t just react to the game. Evan expects every shot to be missed, and gets into

position for an offensive

rebound before the defense has a chance to react. That’s a God-given talent. I can’t teach that; they

possess it.”

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