Posted On: 10/17/18 2:27 PM
39-37. The motivation this summer for the Harrisburg Tigers was clear. Harrisburg hadn’t been to a state championship since 1960. They had their chance last March, but fell short to Matthew Mors and the Yankton Bucks. Four of their five starters graduated, leaving the Tigers with a handful of players without substantial varsity experience.
Brady Van Holland, Ace Zorr, Chase Altenburg, and Michael Curry all have graduated and are now apart of college basketball programs.
Nick Hoyt is the lone starter returning to the lineup for the 2018/19 Tigers. Shooting above 50 percent from 3 last season, Hoyt is arguably one of the best shooters in the state. He will look to bring his leadership and experience to this years team.
In come the new weapons for Harrisburg.
Blair Slaughter is a 6’4 wing, that will be stepping into a huge role for the Tigers this year. Slaughter is a lanky defender with great timing on defense. He has great shot blocking ability and has a knack for jumping passing lanes. Slaughter had good rotation minutes last season where he provided a spark off the bench for the Tigers. With an improved offensive game, Slaughter will look to provide an impact on both sides of the floor.
Adam Erickson was hidden in a guard heavy lineup last year, but will have time to showcase his talents this season. Erickson is the definition of a true point guard. He is a pass first playmaker that can easily create off the dribble. Erickson uses his misdirection and eyes to freeze defenders to find open teammates. He also provides another threat from outside. He is becoming a consistent catch and shoot guy, that also knows how to play off the ball.
Both Slaughter and Erickson will have to step up big for the Tigers to get them another chance at a state championship. Both spent significant time in the gym this offseason developing their skills.
Erickson: “I have worked on improving my shot even more and keeping it very consistent. Also, I have been in the weight room trying to get stronger to become a better defender.”
Slaughter: “I have been working on my three-ball and ball handling.”
Erickson: “I see myself helping Harrisburg win games this year by providing leadership and continuing my role as a playmaker on offense.”
Slaughter: “I see myself blocking shots and helping on defense with my height and long arms. On the offensive side, I see myself making pull up jump shots and finishing at the rim.”
Slaughter and Erickson joined their teammate Nick Hoyt and 3 other Tigers the past two summers to play for the BBA Force. Cale Murphy, Nick Feldman and Issac Brower will also be stepping into bigger roles this year for Harrisburg. Playing all season and all summer together has really helped them develop great chemistry.
Erickson: “Not many other schools had their kids playing on the same AAU team. We had the advantage to play and grow together in the summer and really build chemistry.”
Slaughter: “It was fantastic because we all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This year will be different because we have been playing together since the 3rd grade.”
It’s always tough to make it to a state championship game, but making it last year may have given Harrisburg the confidence in their team to make another run. The chemistry they have built will surely be a huge factor in their success. This will be a fun year for these seniors.