Unbeaten Gators sharing the shots
GREENBUSH, Minn. -- Jake Taggart has been the early-season scoring leader for Badger-Greenbush-Middle River. The Gators, however, aren't reliant on any one or two players for big point production.
When Taggart managed only two points in a game last week, the Gators still had a season-high 79 points in a win against Red Lake County.
"We've had really good balance,'' B-G-MR boys high school basketball coach Kent Christian said. "We've had different guys step up every night.
"Some of these guys have played a lot of varsity ball. A lot of them played on our JV team that had only one loss last year. The key for this group has always been balance.''
The Gators are 4-0 with a spread-the-wealth offense. They average 74.3 points a game and have been consistent, scoring 67 or more points in each game. That balance shows in that:
- Six players -- Taggart, Dylan Heggedal, Adam Benke, Kobey Dallager, Gage Creekmore and Aaron Westling -- already have had double-figure scoring games;
- Three players -- Taggart, Heggedal and Creekmore -- have had game-high point totals in those four games. Each of those three have had at least one 20-point game, while Benke has a season-high 18 and Dallager 16.
The balance is an ideal situation for Taggart, the B-G-MR point guard.
"It's great, knowing anyone on the court can hit a shot,'' the senior said. "In any situation, I have faith in everybody.
"I watch everyone in warmups. Usually you can tell who is on or off, who has a feel for it that night. Or sometimes it comes in spurts, a guy who is knocking down shots in games. (The balance) definitely makes it easier for me.''
Taggart's 15.8 scoring average leads the team. That's followed by Heggedal (13.5), Creekmore (12.3), Dallager (11.0) and Benke (9.5).
Points have come from all directions.
Christian said Taggart and Benke are good perimeter shooters with the ability to slash to the basket. Heggedal is an inside-outside threat. Dallager is strong around the basket, particularly on the offensive boards. Creekmore is strong in the transition game.
The team has made 25 treys and is shooting 43 percent from the field, an improvement from recent seasons. "We've been shooting better, and your offense is only as good as your shooting,'' Christian said.
In his 16 seasons as the Gators' head coach, Christian has had high-scoring players such as Zach Creviston and Adam Telander. He prefers the balance.
"I told the kids at the beginning of the year that it would be great to have five, six kids consistently in double figures,'' Christian said.
"If you have one or two big scorers, they can usually be shut down some at the high school level. When you have 5-6 guys who can score, it's more difficult to defend.''
While several Gators have shown the ability to have big-scoring games, that hasn't been a priority. Taggart hasn't seen anybody asking for more scoring opportunities.
"The thing I like is, with our team, it doesn't matter to anybody who is taking the shots as long we're up on the scoreboard,’ Taggart said.