The Boyertown Area High School boys' basketball team is 1-4 (1-2 league) to start the 2013-2014 campaign. Boyertown has one senior in Tyler Bauman (6.5 points per game), and is returning juniors Ryan Corcoran (8.8 points per game) and Kyle Dennin (5.3 points per game). So far, offense has not been a problem. Early in the 2013-2014 season, Bauman is averaging 13.5 points. Corcoran is averaging `12 points while Dennin is averaging 10.5 points per game as of December 14.
"They're starting to gel and I'm really happy with the team chemistry,' said Boyertown head coach Mike Ludwig. "They're a good group that plays hard and plays together. That's a nice thing to have.'
Ludwig is happy with how things are going so far this season, however he would love to see the team with a few more wins. The team lost to Great Valley, a team is ranked 20th in the state. The Bears also lost to Spring-Ford, a team that's undefeated so far in the PAC-10 early this season. He feels that the team is playing better with each game.
"They're working hard to refine some things,' said Ludwig. "They're improving in areas that they need to improve on and it's starting to show.'
The 1-4 start isn't exactly what the team was looking for this season. However, senior Tyler Bauman felt they had a tough spot losing to Great Valley and Bishop Shanahan to start the season. He felt that the win against Owen J. Roberts turned things around.
Coach Ludwig feels that the PAC-10 is very balanced this season. He notes that Spring-Ford has made a big statement early, not only beating Boyertown, but defeating Methacton, 65-45. But there's a lot of basketball left and it will come down to the final week of the season to see who finishes where.
"Every night is going to be a battle,' said Ludwig.
"You're not going to walk away with an easy victory,' said Bauman. "You have to go out and earn it.'
Boyertown lost, 72-68, Dec. 13. Down 14 at one point, the Bears cut the lead and had chances to win."We had a two on one to take the lead,' said Ludwig. "Spring-Ford made a nice play and they got on a little bit of a run. Our kids played through some adversity early in the first half and we battled extremely hard. We were very happy with the effort.'
"The Spring-Ford game we fought hard,' said Bauman. "We weren't too disappointed that we lost. We were looking forward to beating the next team we played hoping to turn it around. No one had their heads down, everyone is looking forward to getting after it tomorrow.'
As a team, they are looking to get back into the PAC-10 Final Four. That means the Bears need to finish in first or second place in the Liberty Division. Coach Ludwig feels that they have the team to get there.
"They continue to fight no matter what happens,' said Ludwig. "They're very resilient. They fight, and because of that, they're going to keep improving. I'm pleased with everything they're doing. They're really working hard and playing together.'
"We have a lot of talent to play this year,' said Bauman. "I think that we can definitely go out and get some big wins and make it into the playoffs.'
Ludwig continues to talk about how the team plays as a team, and they play for each other. He notes how unselfish they are and that they all work well together. He feels that makes a difference.
The team has been hit with the injury bug aa starting point guard Christian Smith hasn't seen much time on the court early in the season. Getting Smith back and playing the point will make a big difference. Ludwig can then put players back at their natural positions. "The other guys have stepped up and have done a great job in that spot,' said Ludwig. "One of our strengths is our ability to play players in different positions. Ryan (Corcoran) can play just about anywhere on the court. Whatever we ask him to do, he can do.
"Kyle (Dennin) has tremendous leadership skills. He hustles and his determination is a serious strength. Tyler (Bauman) is having a great start to his senior season. He's the senior leader on this team. He's doing a great job helping the younger guys and teaching them what we want. He's teaching them how to be successful and what it takes to be successful. I'm really proud of him, for doing that.
Being the lone senior, Bauman doesn't see it any difference compared to any other year that he's been playing for the bears basketball team. He does feel that there's any added pressure on him because he's the only senior.
"I go out and try to lead the team the best I can,' said Bauman. "It doesn't seem like a big deal to me. I've been the only kid playing. I was the only junior last year and I was use to that.'
Bauman knows that there are a lot of players who don't have the varsity experience and he's trying to help the other younger players get use to the varsity game. Tyler is also trying to teach them the ins and outs of the game.'
There are some young players that are coming on and helping out according to Coach Ludwig. He notes that the team has played a lot of basketball during the spring and summer. They've been playing a lot together for the past couple of years. You can see the chemistry when the players are on the court together. The question is, will that lead them to the playoffs?
Phil Haddad is a free lance writer for the Times. You can follow him on Twitter @writersprtsbt