UNION CITY – Everyone is adapting to a new system as Rodney Saintignon moves from his position as the Mississinawa Valley girls basketball coach to the coach of the boys basketball team.
It’s a completely different ballgame coaching the boys team compared to the girls and a new challenge that Saintignon said he’s enjoying.
“It’s actually pretty good,” he said. “I enjoy working with the guys. It’s a quicker pace game, of course. The attitudes are great, they’re working hard, and I enjoy coaching them.”
With coaching change, the Blackhawks are switching to new schemes offensively and defensively. They’re also different for Saintignon as he adapts to the new style of boys basketball.
“It’s all new to them,” he said. “We’re not running the same things we did in the past with the girls program.”
The offenses Mississinawa Valley will run this year are new to the players, Saintignon said, but the players are picking them up well. The Blackhawks will have a lot of options, any of which they can run well.
“We’re going to run some triangle offense, motion and flex,” Saintignon said. “All the different types of offenses, we have some of it put in somewhere.”
Defensively Mississinawa Valley is mixing up its looks and will include a variety of defenses including zone and man to man.
“We don’t want the other team to get comfortable running their offense,” Saintignon said.
Saintignon said the Blackhawks are picking up things quickly, and he’s very pleased with the team’s attitude.
“We’re looking pretty good, actually,” he said. “We’ve got good attitudes, the guys are working hard. The fundamental game of basketball is very important, and we stress that.”
Going into the season, Mississinawa Valley is dealing with some injuries including to a couple players who would be starting if healthy. Senior Cale Cox, a post and wing player, and junior Jacob Breymier, a guard, both are dealing with injuries although Cox could be back soon.
With those two players out, the starting lineup includes senior Brandon Byers at guard, senior Bryson Pollic and junior Carson Stump at wing, senior Ryan Rehmert playing post and junior Dane Blumenstock – a go-to player for the Blackhawks – playing anywhere he is needed.
Coming off the bench are junior Tyler Connor at guard, junior Alex Brooks at wing, senior Michael Hummel at wing, sophomore Cayden Cox at wing and post, junior Zach Armstrong at post and junior Cesar Delgado at post.
“We’ve got some good bench players,” Saintignon said.
With the players on the Mississinawa Valley roster, Saintignon said he thinks a strength of the team will be its fundamentals along with its athleticism, attitudes and ability to work as a team.
“Our main thing right now is just to do things right and win ball games,” Saintignon said. “I think we’re going to have some good success.”
The team will be tested right away as it opens the season Nov. 30 at Tri-Village. While one game won’t make or break the season, Saintignon said, it will give the Blackhawks a good idea where they are.
“That’s going to be a big test for us,” he said. “It will give us a good outlook on maybe what the season will look like.”