Andes Likes Shadyside’s Chemistry
By SETH STASKEY
For the News-Register
SHADYSIDE — There are a lot of uncertainties surrounding the Shadyside boys basketball team this season.
However, one thing that Ed Andes, who is embarking on his 25th season at the helm of his alma mater, is sure of is his team has “great chemistry.” He also hopes that it’s a team that continually improves as experience is gained, players return from football injuries and roles are defined.
“I really like this team because of its work ethic and chemistry,” Andes said. “It seems like whoever we (put in) is working together well with the other guys on the court.”
The Tigers return four key pieces from a squad that finished 10-11 last season in a COVID-affected campaign. However, one of those pieces — sophomore Ben Wach — won’t be available for several weeks as he recovers from a broken arm he suffered in the second round of the football playoffs last month.
“We’re hoping it’s sooner than later for Ben’s return, but if we’re able to get him back on the court for any amount of time, it’s certainly a plus for us,” Andes confessed.
While Wach is sidelined, more of the onus will fall on the other three returning cogs.
Senior Korey Beckett was an All-Eastern District performer last winter and is looking to take the next step. He’s coming off a season in which he averaged almost 15 points a game and hit 50, 3-point goals.
“Korey had a really good season for us last year,” Andes said. “He’s worked hard on other parts of his game. He loves the game and he’s worked hard at it.”
Senior point guard Mason VanNest is embarking on his third season as part of the Tiger lineup. He averaged a shade over eight points a night last season. He’s one of the team’s top passers.
“We’re trying to get more scoring out of Mason,” Andes said. “We would like to have him scoring in double figures. He has great court vision, penetrates and handles the ball well.”
On the inside, junior Elijah Brock (6-3) had a break-out season last winter, contributing basically a double-double each time out. He scored 13.5 points a game as he made his first impact at the varsity level.
“Elijah had a great year and we believe he will keep getting better and better,” Andes said. “His game has really grown and he’s finishing with both hands and his range extends to about 15 feet. Plus, he’s very active on the boards and will go after loose balls.”
From there, however, the Tigers are somewhat of a mystery.
“We’re trying to figure out what the rest of the rotation will look like,” Andes said. “It really could be by committee somewhat. There are a bunch of sophomores and juniors vying for time. It could change game to game based on who is playing well.”
Shadyside’s roster received a boost when senior Bryce Amos elected to come back out for the sport after not playing last winter. The 6-3 senior is a Tulane baseball signee and was a productive hoop player and two-year letterman.
Some of the names that are battling for the varsity rotation spots include junior Holden Salgat, sophomore Karl Tsroras, sophomore Colton Gorby and sophomore Luke Bell.
“A lot of these kids are going to be learning on the fly,” Andes said. “We’ll lean on our three experienced players and those guys understand that. They’ll have to bring the other kids along with them. The experience they bring is big in making up for the experience the other guys may lack.”
Another senior, who is out for the first time, vying to get into the rotation is Logan Crozier.
The balance of the junior class includes Joseph Barnes and Colton Wetzel.
The remaining sophomores on the roster are Dyan Booth, Nathan Booth, Carson Makris, Chevy Minney and Tyler Stottlemyer.
Shadyside has a group of eight freshmen and they will see time both at the junior varsity level as well as have a freshmen team.
The ninth graders include: Dylan Bachie, Anthony Forgacs, Griffin Kritz, Alec Menough, Caden Nippert, Brandon Reineke, Derrick Russell and Ean Weatherson.
“Our overall experience is my biggest concern,” Andes said. “We have a lot of kids really working hard for those spots and we keep telling the kids that they may change from game to game.”
The Tigers are coming off a season in which they advanced to the sectional final where they fell to Shenandoah.
“We were excited to get in 21 games, especially after being shut down for two weeks,” Andes said. “I am really glad we were able to have and finish the season in the tournament.”
As he shifted to focusing on this season, Andes knows his team can’t afford to take any nights off.
“The main thing for us is we want to get better from where we started to where we finish,” Andes said. “We’ve spent a lot of time working on our team offense and defense.”
The Tigers will line up against a similar schedule that they were originally scheduled to face last season.
“It’s a good schedule for us,” Andes said. “We have to play each game the same. It doesn’t matter who we are playing because if we don’t come to play, you can get beat.”
Andes’ coaching staff returns intact. Jared Andes is the chief assistant. Mike Schlanz guides the freshmen, while Jay Thomas and Justin Andes are the eighth and seventh grade coaches, respectively.