Shaler boys seek improvement
Shaler senior guard Tanner Reinheimer has the right temperament. So do the rest of his teammates on the Titans boys basketball team.
“We have fun, but we know when it’s time to be serious, focus and work hard,” Reinheimer said.
Shaler isn’t a program that can be lax and coast on its reputation.
The Titans are 19-68 since last making the playoffs during the 2011-12 season. Last season, Shaler finished 2-20 overall and 1-11 in section.
With coach Rob Niederberger returning for a second season, he expects change. Players are invested and put the time in, so challenging for a Class 6A playoff spot is the goal.
“It’s more of a mentality,” Niederberger said. “There’s been a culture of losing with a decent amount of male sports of Shaler. We wanted to change the culture.”
Getting there will require progression in many areas.
“We need growth in all aspects,” Niederberger said. “That’s what the offseason was all about. … We took two weeks off after the end of the season and went at it four days a week.”
Niederberger said he feels the Titans have six starters. Anthony Venezia, Kevin Haberman, Jesse Tavella, Matt Tavella, Reinheimer and Kiki Agbale will be counted on to play big minutes.
John Franklin, Corey Grande, Conner Haberman and Justin Desabato also will be in the rotation.
Reinheimer averaged 18 points last season and is 250 points short of 1,000 for his career.
Following another year under Niederberger, Reinheimer said he feels like he will get more support.
“I’ve been trying to work on not forcing too many shots,” Reinheimer said. “We have a lot of shooters, and I’m more comfortable. If I create, I have more shooters to help me.”
Shooting will be a key concern for the Titans. Shaler has a small roster. Agbale is the tallest upperclassmen at 6-foot-3.
Venezia led the team in assists last season.
“We’ve put in a lot of work through the summer and fall working every day,” Venezia said. “Everyone is coming together on the same page.”
The Titans would like to see their hard work alter their reputation.
“Winning should mean something to you,” Niederberger said. “It’s pride. That’s what we’re trying to bring back. If you work, you expect to win. Thirty kids have been at every open gym, good things will eventually come.”
Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.