Basketball

Mack boys not losing heart despite early struggles

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File photo – McKinleyville head coach Sonny Tripp talks to his players during a recent game.

An inexperienced Panthers boys basketball team has struggled this season in terms of wins and losses, but head coach Sonny Tripp feels the best is yet to come from this year’s team.

“I like where we’re at in some ways,” Tripp said after Thursday’s 60-42 loss to Shasta at the Logger Classic. “We’re still figuring out some of our roles, but I still think we can compete in league and do well.”

A new-look Panthers team has limited experience back from last year, but has made steady progress despite their struggles.

“It’s just about us fixing the little things, like boxing out and turnovers, and we should be able to compete with anybody,” the head coach said. “We’re inexperienced. We have have two kids that got minutes last year, but really I think we’ll be okay.”

Those two key retuning players, Thomas Locatelli and Freddie Sundberg, will be looked to for some much-needed leadership this winter.

Freshman Jack Clancy also has impressed early on, making his first start of the campaign against Shasta.

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The Mack bench looks on during a recent game

“He’s going to be good,” Tripp said of the first-year varsity player.

The head coach also likes the team chemistry.

“I think we play well together,” he said. “We’re still moving the ball around good, we’re just not scoring consistently.”

That was clearly a problem against Shasta, with the Panthers staying neck and neck with the Wolves for the first half, but scoring just 12 points over the final two periods.

“We’re not discouraged yet,” Tripp added. “We’re still getting better every game, and trying to get better every day at practice.”

The Panthers continue tournament play against Hoopa on Friday.

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