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St. Al boys changing styleto suit outside shooters

[11/06/01] St. Aloysius coach Paul Hayden would love to tell you about his boys’ team, but he can’t. Not because he doesn’t want to give secrets away, but because he just isn’t sure what he’s got.

St. Al lost five seniors from last season’s 9-16 team and has seven players still involved in football, cross country and swimming who will either miss the first game of the season entirely or be out of basketball shape for it.

Hayden expects to have only seven players suited up for tonight’s opener against Loyd Star, and has been running practices with just four or five players.

“I wish there was more of a break for these kids, but I guess that’s how things are,” Hayden said.

Junior forward Jason Brown said that with the low numbers, practices have focused on conditioning.

“We’ve had a lot more conditioning and run a lot more,” Brown said.

What Hayden can tell you is that this season’s Flashes will look nothing like last year’s model. With dangerous outside shooters Victor Segers, Matt Horn and Justin Williams leading the way, St. Al’s offense will resemble a 3-point contest more than a big-man’s clinic.

“We’re going to change our style. We’ll rely on 3-pointers,” Hayden said. “Legitimately, I have four solid 3-point shooters that can shoot the ball.”

When the Flashes aren’t bombing away, they’ll be a guard-oriented, slashing-type team, a style that suits their tall but skinny players.

Horn is the tallest player on the roster at 6-foot-3, but is only 185 pounds. Sophomore Kyle Richards, who will play center, has some bulk but is only 6-foot-2.

“We have some height, but we don’t have anybody that’s filled out. I think that’s going to be our weakness, is rebounding and post defense,” Hayden said.

The Flashes are also lacking a lot of experience, and the leadership that comes with it. Segers, Horn and Chris Talley are the only seniors on the team, but only Segers saw a lot of playing time.

Segers and Williams will share the point guard position this season, and Hayden was hopeful they would develop into the leaders his team needs. Hayden also said his group of five sophomore players has shown a great deal of maturity, which will help.

“I’m hoping Victor is going to accept more of a leadership role,” Hayden said. “I believe with Justin and Victor sharing that duty together, we’re just going to keep improving.”

St. Al does catch one break with the schedule. Powerhouses Madison-St. Joe and Dexter have been moved out of Division 7-1A and Mississippi School for the Deaf and Natchez Cathedral have been moved in. St. Al won three of four against those teams last season.

“It’ll help us quite a bit … ,” Hayden said.