One simply doesn’t replace a career 1,000-point scorer.
As early evidence has shown, things should still run smoothly for North White’s basketball team.
The Vikings, who restart their schedule on Friday with a game at Rensselaer Central, began the season 2-0 with consecutive wins prior to Thanksgiving. Junior guards Hunter Pogue (19.5) and Bentley Buschman (18.0) have led the way in both contests, and will continue to as the season progresses. Pogue and Bentley both averaged double figures as sophomores and are three-year starters.
“You make up for it … you don’t replace (Robertson),” head coach Matt Sipkema said. “You don’t flat-out replace his scoring, but with what we have we’re hoping that we can offset that.
“The last two years we’ve had a couple boys in there who have learned a lot from Cale — how to conduct yourself on and off the court, playing within the system, things like that. I think that’s gone a long way.”
The Vikings went from nine wins to 14 in Sipekma’s second year, and have claimed a share of the Midwest Conference championship each season. The goal is to snare a third straight, whether it’s sole possession or another share.
“We have guys who were given a lot of varsity minutes last year who are able to come together,” Sipkema said.
Brayden Buschman started nearly every game last year and Nate Miller played heavily in all of them. Most of the current roster played in at least 24 of the Vikings’ 26 contests.
North White lost more than 18 points per game from Robertson. It lost height from him, as well as the frontcourt trio of Trey Cobb, Chase Connell and Nolan Princell.
At 6-foot-2, Jeffery Stevens will provide the bulk of the frontcourt height. Aiding him is nearly everyone — Bentley (5.5) and Brayden Buschman (5.0), Miller (5.5) and Pogue (4.0) — have all grabbed multiple rebounds per game thus far. Brayden is 5-10, while Bentley and Miller are both 5-9, and all three “play a lot bigger” than their stature, according to Sipkema.
“With the two pieces we’re plugging into the starting lineup, for this team, we like what we have,” Sipkema said. “With all five guys playing their role, doing the things they are capable of doing, we’re going to be all right with what we have on the court.”