Chuck Frisbie’s goal in his return to coaching basketball is to take a Constantine boys team that finished 5-16 last season and try to close the gap between the Falcons and the Kalamazoo Valley Association’s usual suspects at the top of the pecking order.
Frisbie previously spent nine years coaching at Mendon and three years at Glen Oaks. Constantine begins the 2013-14 season — without its top-two scorers from a year ago — Monday at home against Marcellus.
Peyton White and Michael Harris graduated, but junior Cody Ley and senior Luhk Mullendore are back for another year in the starting lineup. The 6-foot-3 Ley averaged six points and Mullendore (6-1) scored five points per game last winter.
Mullendore is expected to play inside and out, with Ley the primary threat in the paint. Junior guards Joey Steiner (5-8), Perry White (5-10) and junior forward Jon Doering round out the starting unit.
“We’re not real big, so [Mullendore’s] going to have to do a little of both for us,” Frisbie said. “He’s a good athlete, good shooter. Cody [Ley] is the tallest guy and he’s probably our best athlete, too. He’s going to have to play well for us inside this year.
“Joey Steiner is a real good shooter — probably our best shooter on the team. Perry White, whose brother [Peyton] last year was the leading scorer, he’ll be a point guard. He’s very athletic and a good shooter as well. We’ve got to get him under control a little bit on offense, but he’s a good player.
Doering, at 6-1, 230 pounds, has the frame to clear space inside but features a feathery touch from the perimeter as well, making him a tough defensive assignment.
“We’ve got shooters,” Frisbie said of this Constantine group, which finished 4-14 in the KVA and lost 64-42 to White Pigeon in the Class C district semifinals last year. “If we play some defense and make shots we’ll look good. If we don’t make shots we’ll look bad.”
Frisbie says the team’s strengths are quickness and shooting. Handling half-court traps and full-court presses, he noted, will be key in the KVA.
“My first goal is to play good defense,” he added. “We’re not there yet defensively. We have to get better on defense. If we do that we’ll be able to compete with teams in this league. Defensively, we’ll switch it. We want to work on our man-to-man, but we’ll press, we’ll trap and try to switch it as much as we can to try to confuse people.
“We’ll change it up. We want a fast tempo because I think we are quick. We want to shoot the ball quickly. If we get an open 3 we’re probably going to shoot it. Offensively, we’re ahead of the defense at this point.”
Juniors Anthony Bontrager (6-0, G), Austin Kinser (5-10, G/F), Ezra Amstutz (5-8, G), Eli Beegle (6-1, G) and senior guard Steven Kinney (6-0) fill out this year’s Falcons roster.
They’ll all play roles in what Frisbie hopes will be a quick-strike attack.
“If we can get open shots in transition we’re going to take them,” Frisbie explained. “If not, we’ll get in the half court. Since we’re not real big, we’re not going to be able to pound it on people.”