Depth pays off again for Strasburg
STRASBURG — Strasburg boys basketball coach Matt Hiserman has a luxury most coaches don’t have.
Hiserman knows if his team is struggling, he can usually turn to his bench players to give the team a lift. That’s exactly what happened again on Tuesday night in Strasburg’s Region 2A East first-round victory over Wilson Memorial.
The Rams only used eight players, but junior guards Trevin Howard and Jordan Stump gave the team a big lift, and sophomore guard Cody Price did a solid job defensively.
“That’s been our strength all year — we’ve got different types of guys that can step up,” Hiserman said. “And tonight those guys gave us help off the bench. I think that’s what makes us so tough sometimes, because we have different guys that can score on any night.”
The Rams were trailing 13-10 after the first period and were struggling offensively against Wilson Memorial 7-foot-1 center Dean Shaner. Hiserman decided to switch to a five-out offense and try to penetrate and attack the Green Hornets.
Howard and Stump both did that effectively in the second period. The pair combined for six points during an 11-2 run that gave Strasburg a 21-15 lead.
“We saw [Shaner] in AAU before, so we knew how he played,” Stump said. “So we weren’t too intimidated.”
“It’s hard, but you just got to float the ball over him when you get to the lane. You can’t just shoot it or he’s going to swat it,” Howard said. “Our team needed buckets, so I had to go out there and get some buckets.”
Howard was a reserve last year for the Rams and saw quite a bit of playing time, but this season has been a struggle. Howard has battled sickness twice this season, which has set him back.
Hiserman said he feels like Howard is really starting to get back to where they would like for him to be.
“Physically he’s been trying to get himself back into it, and luckily by us not playing there last week and having just one game he was able to get back into a little bit of rhythm in practice,” Hiserman said. “I thought he did a good job of stepping up there.”
The Green Hornets battled back a few times and kept the game close throughout. Stump scored three points at the start of the fourth period to help the Rams push the lead back to nine points.
Stump has been both a starter and bench player for the Rams this season, and said he’s happy to do whatever the team needs.
Hiserman said if someone is playing well he will usually leave them in, and it’s not about being a starter or a bench player.
“We try to make the kids understand that if we get a good group doing things right we’re going to kind of stay with them, and it may not be you did anything wrong during the game,” Hiserman said. “It may just be the other guys are making some things happen and we just kind of left it at that. That’s kind of what happened again tonight. Two guys in Jordan and Trevin that have had some good nights and had some bad nights, and tonight they did really well for us. They stepped up and gave us some big minutes off the bench.”
Stump finished with five points, two steals, an assist and the team’s only blocked shot. Howard had four points and an assist, while playing some solid minutes in the backcourt.
The Rams will play later this week in the regional quarterfinals, and the bench could help the team go a long ways.
“You’ve got to start five, so that’s the only reason we’re starting who we are,” Strasburg senior starter Ryan Smoot said. “I think our depth is something that’s going to help us. … Cody Price, the second half of the season, has given us great minutes defensively. We’ve got nine or 10 guys that can really step in there and help us.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org