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Piedmont basketball bigger, stronger this season

Blake Colston

A Facebook application called ‘Timehop’ might be the most tangible evidence Piedmont’s boys basketball team is bigger and stronger heading into this season.

Timehop compares side-by-side pictures from current to a year in the past. Head coach Troy Lallemand said the difference was striking from a year ago to now.A Iyaye

“One of our team managers has (Timehop) and you can see the difference in definition in their arms,” he said, noting sophomore Blake Owens in particular. “I see them every day, so it’s a little harder to pick up on how much bigger they are, but I do think that’s true of all of them. I’m very happy with the work they’ve put in.”

It’s a relatively minor improvement, but far from the only one, Lallemand said. His team appears improved defensively and has shot the ball better in fall practice. If Piedmont can make teams consistently respect its outside shooting, Lallemand thinks that’ll translate into easier paths to the basket and more free throws.

“We’re shooting it really well right now,” he said. “But again it’s only practice.”

Senior point guard Addaryl Quinn knew he needed to get bigger and stronger. He did and he said he feels more comfortable to start this season. It’s night and day from a season ago, in fact. He’s stronger and more confident.

“I think that’s going to make things better, especially for the young guys,” Quinn said. “Now that we have some experience we can give them some wise words about what it’s really going to be like for varsity.”

Quinn thought he entered last season, his first significant varsity action of his career, ready to play.

“I think the first few games it hit us that we weren’t ready,” he said.

Now, Quinn knows he’s ready for the rigors of varsity basketball.

“With the majority of people back this year we have more chemistry now and I feel like everyone is ready to go,” he said.

That includes reigning Suburban Conference Newcomer of the Year, Adokiye Iyaye. As a freshman, Iyaye led the team in scoring and returns for his sophomore season with an improved outside shot.

“It’s coming along great,” Iyaye said. “I’ve been working on it every day.”

Iyaye will enter this season as a marked man for opposing defenses, so Lallemand has already begun devising plans for teams that decide to double team or box-and-one, Iyaye.

“I’m prepared for that as far as what we’ll do,” he said. “The other thing is, as far as in our system, we don’t want to live through one guy. Adokiye might have the ball, but all five guys have to be ready to score.”

With a big boost from Iyaye, late season wins over El Reno and Lawton MacArthur last season gave the Wildcats an idea of the potential they have. This season they hope to expand on that.

PHS won eight games last season and Quinn said the team hopes to double that this season. Lallemand won’t commit to numbers like that yet, but says this team will be improved across the board.

“They know they can do it, they know they can beat good teams,” Lallemand said. “And they understand how they have to play to do that now.”

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