Boys basketball preview: With new head coach, Knoch might look a little different

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020 | 3:05 PM


The Knoch boys basketball team will look a lot different in 2020.

After former coach Ron McNabb stepped down in the offseason, Freeport grad Alan Bauman took over the program for his first varsity head coaching job and is looking to continue the success Knoch has had in recent years.

Just last season, the Knights put together an overall record of 19-4 and scored 73 points per game. At one point, they won 16 straight games and earned the No. 2 seed in the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs.

The Knights graduated a lot though.

After averaging 18.2 points last season, junior guard Ryan Lang is the only returning starter, and forward Zach McMillen is the only other returning player who saw significant minutes.

But Bauman said the transition has been pretty smooth.

“We’ve kind of come in and assessed and have said ‘all right, this is where we want to be because Coach McNabb did such a great job,’” Bauman said. “So, we’re just kind of mixing in a little bit of what they did last year with what we want to do and what we want to become. With covid and the shortness of the hiring, you kind of have to mix and match a little bit to make them as comfortable as possible.”

Last year, with a rotation that consisted of five to six seniors, the Knights played up tempo. They scored at a fast pace, they pushed teams with different types of pressure and were able to outscore opponents on most occasions.

This season may look a little different though. Bauman wants his team to run, but he also wants them to pick and choose their spots.

“We don’t talk about running, we just talk about pace of play,” Bauman said. “That’s something that they are learning, what’s the right pace at the right time. Kind of picking and choosing when to run.”

After being able to sneak under the radar a little bit last year, Lang will take on a bigger role this season, and Bauman said no matter what position he’s playing he can be seen as a playmaker. Lang plans to be more aggressive on both ends of the court.

“It’s just about playing my game, not getting caught up in the moment and do what I do,” Lang said. “I know I have good teammates around me that will help me.”

Bauman also will rely on players such as McMillen and Tyler Buterbaugh to contribute, but he also expects a few younger players to step up.

Junior Keegan Fraser is one of them. He played mainly JV last season and Bauman believes he could have an impact this year.

“He was hurt during football this year, and he’s gotten better every day,” Bauman said. “He’s probably had one of the best preseasons out of anybody.”

The Knights scored at a significant rate last season and might not be the same this year, but Lang believes they can make up for it on the defensive end.

“We’re hoping to press a lot and play good defense,” Lang said. “Defense is going to help a ton this year.”

The Knights also will play in somewhat of a new section as former section rival Highlands has moved to Class 5A. New opponents include Burrell, North Catholic, Deer Lakes and Keystone Oaks. The Knights have won at least a share of the title the past two years.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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