Metamora basketball prepares for season

Justin Miller

The 2012-13 basketball season is here and the Metamora Redbirds are ready to play.

"I told them the hay is in the barn, we have to just go out and play," coach Danny Grieves said. "We've been excited since Aug. 15 when we started practice."

Leading the squad this year will be a good mix of experienced players and younger members.

"I've got quite a few seniors this year and I have three of them as captains," Grieves said of the captains. "We have a good nucleus coming back from last year. I know we lost three really good players.

"It's going to take a lot for someone to step up and fill those positions."

Leading the charge of underclassmen are a combination of juniors and sophomores.

Strategically, the team will remain much as it was last year.

"We've got the same philosophy as we had last year," Grieves said. "We are going to play an uptempo style and push the ball. We'll try to get quick shots.

"Defensively, we will also be uptempo there and press most of the game. We will play zone and some zone traps."

Also the same for this season will be the goals from last year.

"One of our goals for sure is to win all three tournaments that we are in during the year," Grieves said. "We are also going to try to win our Regional and the Mid-Illini Conference."

Winning the Mid-Illini will be no easy task with tough opponents in Washington and Morton.

"There is no doubt that in order to play and be successful in the Mid-Illini and the Peoria area that you have to be able to defend your position and play good team defense," Grieves said. "If we do those things we will have a chance. If we don't then we won't."

Leading up to Monday's game, the team has held intense practice sessions.

"We've had some good practices and some poor ones," Grieves said. "It is our job as coaches to motivate them to do the best we can and go from there.

While the team may not have a particular area of the game where it will dominate, Grieves said he feels that there is a good mixture of strengths.

"There is no doubt in my mind that our strength is our team," Grieves said. "We don't have any real superstars on it. We've got a little bit of everything. We have some size, some three-point shooters and it will take a little of everything for us to win.

"We don't have to have spectacular plays, we just have to play as a team."

The team next plays at 7 p.m. Nov. 30 at Canton.

"We'd like to play well early, but like I've always told our kids, it's not how you start but how you finish," Grieves said.