NORMAL, Ill. — It’s been a year of change for Normal Community basketball. 21-year head coach Dave Witzig still leads the Ironmen, but last year’s team with 9 seniors is long gone. But you don’t notice much of a difference with the on court product.
“We’re not one hundred percent sure what to think of this years team yet. We came out strong at Intercity and won our first four games which is really tough to do, we’ve only done that two times in our school history,” Witzig said. “And we have some good young guys that are playing and we’re going to just work with them and try to get better.”
The Iron start two sophomores in point guard Trey Redd and big man Zach Cleveland, who have brought a big spark to the program. But it’s the seniors on the team who have helped bring in a new youth movement.
“Now that their time has come to step up, I feel like they are doing a good job at doing what they learned and now they are stepping up and playing big themselves,” said NCHS senior Mitchell Sauder.
“We have a bunch of young guys, so it’s just being a leader towards them and just helping them out,” said NCHS senior Jay Gillispie. “It really hasn’t been a big difference or change as a group, but I feel like us playing together a lot over the summer really helped us.”
The balance of experience and youth has been a potent formula for the Iron, who boast a 12-3 record through their first 15 games. But they know their biggest tests will come in March.
“The high school basketball season is a marathon, but we know there is a lot of work to be done and a lot of ways to improve,” said Witzig. “And so, we’re just going to have to run the marathon well, and that means getting better every week and try to do the little things right, and see where we end up in March.”