To know Scott Haebe’s coaching style, one recognizes that the longtime boys’ basketball coach preaches defense. It’s the bread and butter of his attack. From there, the possibilities are endless on the offensive side of the floor.
That’s why, in part, Haebe, in his third season at Clear Creek High School this year, is placing more of an emphasis on defense and forcing the opposition into turnovers. From that comes fast-break opportunities for a Golddiggers team that appears to be quite deep with talent in 2021.
“Our defense will make our offense a lot better,” senior Seattle Schuessler said. “All the kids are really, really good at defense. I love that aspect and the energy that we bring on this team and how we can translate that into our offensive transition.”
Expect that to be the modus operandi for Clear Creek this season — an up-tempo offense ignited by the Diggers’ defensive pressure.
CCHS’ offense, however, has a big hole to fill in Ben Griffin, who led the team in scoring (15.4 points per game) and rebounds (7.9 per outing) a season ago. But with three returning seniors in Reese Onago, Kiefer Zabel and Schuessler and a talented core behind them Clear Creek should more than be able to do that.
“Everybody is in the mix (for playing time). We’ve got a couple of juniors, a couple of sophomores and two good freshmen. I can’t pinpoint one or two right now. It’s going to be a team effort,” Haebe said.
In Onago, Schuessler and Zabel, however, Clear Creek returns a combined 34.2 points per game, 15.1 rebounds, 10.3 assists and 5.8 steals for an offense that averaged nearly 56 points per contest. And this year that offense is looking to push the ball up the court even more so in years past.
“(We can) spread the floor and push teams and run them out of the gym,” Onago said.
That’s why it’s crucial that the Diggers’ implement their nine to 10-man rotation, cycling players in and out so that they’ll be ready to play in the fourth quarter and late-game situations, Onago acknowledged.
“If we are on the same page, we’ll definitely be putting ourselves in a (position) to win,” Zabel said.
“The kids who’ve been with me the last couple of years know what I value and how we want to play, what I expect,” Haebe said. “I see that, especially with the seniors this year. The underclassmen will be looking at the seniors. I feel pretty good where we’re going.”
Where Clear Creek hopes to go is back to the 2A regionals, if not even farther, in 2021. Last year, the Golddiggers were just 11-12, but seven wins in nine games, including an exhilarating 57-52 overtime thriller over Byers in the district tournament, sealed that regional berth.
This year’s squad feels that getting to regionals is a realistic goal given its depth.
“I think we can go just as far if not farther,” said senior Bode Dalton, who returns to the team after a one-year hiatus. “We have a deep bench, a deep roster. We’re super-talented and super-athletic. We can go far if we put in the work and commit ourselves.”