LAFAYETTE -- Lanky, athletic and able to score, most would expect Max Clark to steal the show for Peak to Peak basketball. But the senior himself is the first to say the Pumas are far from a one-man operation.
As Clark points out, his team has a slew of returning talent with five varsity players back on the roster. And flattered as he is in expecting to shoulder his share of the load, to get where the Pumas want to go is going to be a team effort.
That is because, this season Peak to Peak's game plan calls for one speed -- top.
"We're going to run," the three-year starter said. "We going to press teams and make them run with us."
The Pumas' strategy runs counter to the majority of the hyper-competitive Metro League. The conference has become one of the most dominant in Class 3A, milking the most out of 2-3 zone defenses and the willingness to hold the ball on offense.
Picking up the pace, from Clark's perspective, has the potential to throw a monkey wrench into its conference's operation. And he is certain the Pumas have the personnel to pull it off. Not only does the team have a slew of returning talent to keep the tempo high, it also has a deep bench.
"We have guards that are 5-foot-10 and athletic by the bucket load," Clark said. "We're just going to dig into them, get ready and get running."
The move to a more team-centric attack is a relief to many Pumas. Last season the team heaped many of its expectations on the back of now-graduated Eric Goedde. The 6-2 small forward averaged a double-double per game, helping the Pumas off to a 12-1 start and into the top 10. But he left Peak to Peak in a lurch when he got injured in the thick of conference play.
"We struggled when he wasn't there," Peak to Peak coach Tony Peters said. "But I think we have a better group this year. There is no one big guy. We have a team that is nine or 10 deep with kids that can play."
Peters might have a cornucopia of hoopsters, but the coach also expects a few to take the reins of the team and run. And while the coach has a roster full of guards, it is his big men who have the potential make the most noise.
Clark continues to be a big piece of the Pumas' puzzle and has already proven he has the ability to dominate on both ends of the court. A year ago, the senior forward averaged 13.5 points per game and 5.8 rebounds. And while he is the most likely candidate to pick up where Goedde left off, he is not putting that sort of pressure on himself.
"I'm not trying to go out and be Eric Goedde, I know I don't need to do that," the 6-5 senior said. "I'm just trying to help our team win with assists, rebounds, scoring -- I'll do whatever we need."
Sam Fangman is the other half of Peak to Peak's towering equation. The 6-3 forward is the next highest scorer back on the roster, averaging 6.6 point per game last season and 3.2 rebounds. And like the rest of the Pumas, Fangman is certain the sky is the limit this year.
"It's going to take composure once we get into those tight games with Faith Christian and Holy Family. And it's going to take playing the whole game," he said. "But I think we can win state."
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