(COVINGTON, La.) — The St. Paul’s Basketball Wolves entered the 2020-2021 season looking to rebound from a quarterfinal exit in last year’s Division 1 playoffs. The program has complemented its historical 2017-2018 season with a pair of late postseason exits. The Wolves have won 135 games over their last five seasons. The last five years have been described by Head Coach Stephen Dale as “the school’s greatest five year run.”
“I know we have a talented group that’s capable of putting together a great season,” Dale said. “We’re returning a lot of players from last year’s team, plus adding in some first-year varsity players who have really improved during the off-season,” Dale said.
This improvement comes in the from strength and conditioning. “During the off-season, I worked on getting my body right,” Junior Zach Fenn said. “I worked on becoming a better athlete,” Junior Jeremy Autin said.
“In terms of our pace of play, we are playing a lot faster this year than in season’s past,” Dale said. “Given our depth and our skill level, I knew focusing on transition could be a way we really attack our opponents.” He described the Wolves’ style of play as “run, flow, disrupt.” “We’ve definitely established an identity of running and playing fast,” he said.
Leadership is regarded with high standards throughout the program. “There’s a great understanding of the expectations and what it takes to be successful,” Dale said. “We do have a few natural leaders and that is certainly helping our group become a player-led team,” he said.
At the beginning of every year, the team votes for Unit Leaders. These leaders are in charge of a small group of players. Their job is to relay information from their small group to the coaching staff. Unit Leader Blake Davis views his job as “a major responsibility to the team.” “At the end of the day, your teammates should be able to discuss any issue or suggestion with you,” Davis said. “You have to not only pick up your own unit, but ensure everyone on the team is focused at all times,” he said.
Dale is happy with the leadership level in his program. “All in all, I would say our collective leadership across the entire roster is strong,” Dale said. “And that’s good, because we’ll really lean on that during the bumpy parts of the season,” he said.
“I really believe if our team this year continues to improve over the course of the season, we’ll be a significant factor come the postseason,” Dale said. “As long as we continue to play to our strengths, we’ll continue to improve and be happy with where our season ends up,” he said.
“I think state is a real possibility,” Junior Brady Bollinger said. “Ultimately, it is where we want to be.”