Pirate boys ready for hoops season

Coach Dave Chapman gives instruction to Englewood High School basketball players Sean Bowering, center, and Colton Korinek during the Dec. 2 practice, two days before the Pirates’ season opener.

Coach Dave Chapman said the returning lettermen should anchor this year’s improved Englewood High School boys basketball team.

“We were a young team last year with only three seniors on the roster. The seniors graduated in June and now, almost everyone from that team is back this season,” the coach said as he watched the team practice Nov. 26. “We are starting with a group of guys who got quite a bit of varsity experience last season, plus most of the guys took part in two summer leagues, which helped them improve their basketball skills.”

He has about 40 athletes out for the team, including quite a few freshmen. So, again this year, Englewood will have three teams, varsity, junior varsity and C team, the latter of which is primarily freshmen.

The Pirates got a taste of competition Nov. 30 in scrimmages with Littleton and Sheridan. The squad opens the season Dec. 4, 6 and 7 at the Skyline High School tournament.

Englewood will play its home games in the north gym because the fieldhouse is undergoing major renovation.

The Pirates open the home-court season with back-to-back games.

They play Centaurus Dec. 16 and then are at home against Arvada Dec. 17.

Chapman said his goal is to have the team run a motion offense.

“We don’t have a lot of height to crash the boards, but we will push the pace as much as we can,” he said. “However, many times it will be necessary to set up for a half-court game. When we do that, we will be moving a lot and looking to get a player clear for a high-percentage shot inside.”

Defensively, the coach will have the team shifting between a zone alignment and one-on-one matchups.

The team got stronger with the return of Sean Bowering.

Bowering played at Englewood as a freshman but the family moved to Colorado Springs last year. The family is back in Englewood and Sean is back with the Pirates.

“I am glad to be back at Englewood,” he said during a break in the Nov. 26 practice. “I see a team that is getting better. We are using better basketball techniques and the team chemistry is improving. It could be a pretty good year for us.”

He said, despite his height, he prefers to shoot mid-range shots.

“I can pound the boards and work inside both on offense and defense,” he said. “But I think I shoot best from out around the free-throw line. But I will move to where the coach wants me to play.”

He said his goals for the season are to have the highest shooting percentage on the team and to help the Pirates make the playoffs.

Senior Isiah Mestas will be playing point guard for the Pirates this season.

“I am a better basketball player now than I was at this time last season,” he said. “I feel playing in the summer leagues has helped me improve my quickness, my ball handling skills and my shooting.”

Mests, who played quarterback for the Pirates this season, said he can shoot from outside but his strength is driving to the basket to try to score a layup or draw a foul.

“I like football, but basketball is my favorite sport,” he said. “I like basketball because the fast pace of the game has you running up and down the court constantly.”

Going into the season, Mestas said he wants to do all he can to help his team win games and personally, he wants to play well enough to be named first team all-league.