Clear Spring Boys Basketball Entering Postseason with High Expectations

Clear Spring's boys basketball head coach John Hutzell had big plans for his team at the outset of this season. Hutzell wanted to see his team go undefeated, winning section, regional and state titles in the process.

The coach's confidence is understandable- the Blazers have seven seniors on their roster, six of which are four year varsity players. Clear Spring also has talented underclassmen, regularly starting two sophomores.

While the Blazers didn't go undefeated, they still put together a strong season, finishing 15-7. Their regular season success earned the number one seed in their section, as well as a first round bye, putting Clear Spring in an excellent spot to win some postseason trophies.

"As far as titles go, we start the quest on Monday," Hutzell said. "I truly believe if we can stay focused and healthy we'll have a real shot at achieving these goals."

To get where they want to go, the Blazers are going to rely on their defense.

Hutzell likes to make Clear Spring's opponents uncomfortable on the court by having his players implement rugged defense.When Clear Spring is playing at their best, the defense is creating turnovers so that the Blazers can get out into the open court, which is where many of their players thrive.

"We try to play good, hard-nosed defense which forces turnovers or bad shots so that we can get out and run the floor," Hutzell said. "We've been doing a really good job of players accepting their roles which allows us to be successful as a team and a program. We have also been very successful at getting out and running in transition."

Clear Spring's postseason journey will begin on Monday against either Smithsburg or North Carroll, two teams Hutzell wants his players to be wary of. Smithsburg in particular is a team that could provide a difficult match up for the Blazers because the two teams split their two regular season meetings.

It won't get any easier in the later rounds for Clear Spring, with teams like Manchester Valley (the team that's ended Clear Spring's season the last two years) and Allegany (which beat Clear Spring a week ago) in its region.

Despite the tough road ahead, Hutzell is still confident the Blazers will find a way to accomplish their goals of bringing home some postseason hardware.

"Playing with heart, with pride and dignity. Representing the school and community in a respectable and positive manner is of the up-most importance," Hutzell said. "I want us to win, but I want us to do it with class, remain humble and work hard to achieve our goals."
February 26th, 2016By: Wick Eisenberg

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