If defense wins championships, the Elyria Christian School boys basketball team has a legitimate chance to fulfill or excel its current No. 2 ranking in Class 1A Division II.
The Eagles have held opponents to under 40 points in all five games this season. It’s no coincidence Elyria is 5-0.
ECS head coach Zach Goodrich believes his team’s defensive success is sustainable throughout the season, which is bad news for teams in the Wheat State League and 1A DII.
“We still have plenty of room to grow on the defensive end, so as we stay committed to learning different ways we can be more effective defensively, there will be plenty of opportunity to find continued success,” Goodrich said.
Goodrich credits his team’s defensive success to experience. The Eagles returned all five starters from last year’s squad that went 15-8.
Another year in the system has the Eagles playing at an elite level on defense.
“We are starting to take pride on the defensive side of the ball,” Goodrich said. “It’s something we want to control and are learning that if we play defense, we will have an opportunity to be in the game.”
While the season is still young, there is an understandably large amount of hype surrounding the Eagles.
Elyria trails only Otis-Bison in the standings, according to the latest Kansas Basketball Coaches Association rankings. As the boys basketball program reaches new heights, Goodrich says his team is not shying away from expectations.
“I think because Elyria has not had a lot of success at the state level in its history, the community, the team, and the school are definitely excited,” Goodrich said. “[Rankings] do not mean much because it is still so early in the season, but it lets our guys know that they have the potential to do something special this year if they continue to work hard.”
Elyria has won all five of its games by double digits this season, but the Eagles are not perfect. Goodrich believes his team can improve by valuing each possession more and finishing around the rim.
“There have been times we’ve gotten excellent stops, then made a bad pass in transition,” Goodrich said. “Things like that will get us beat against a team down the road.
“Our guys have improved on [finishing at the rim] tremendously from last season,” Goodrich continued. “However, it’s an area that will take us from good to great as we continue to finish better.”
Elyria is back in action on Jan. 5 at league-foe Wakefield.
Contact Gallagher Martin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel