By Dave Pearce.
The North Posey High School basketball program will be under new direction this year. With Coach Matt Wadsworth moving on to a larger school, Coach Heath Howington will take the reins. The youthful Howington, most recently an assistant at Harrison, comes to the Vikings with an impressive resume.
“I have had the opportunity to work within several very good programs, most recently at Harrison,” Howington said. “The three years prior to that, I was at Bloomington South, where we won two state titles under coach J.R. Holmes. Before that I was at Eastern Green with Coach Andy Igle.”
The University of Southern Indiana did his student teaching at Evansville North, where he did his student teaching. During his college years, he served as a volunteer assistant at Harrison. Howington is a graduate of Evansville Reitz where he played basketball for Coach Adams.
Howington will use his business degree in the classroom at North Posey and his basketball experience on the court.
“This has all happened very quickly,” said Howington, who plans to be married in the summer (to Megan Tenbarge). “I had heard that Coach Wadsworth was applying for another job and had a good chance to get it. I sent everything in with every intention of probably being back at Harrison this year.”
Howington said he has found a stellar work ethic in the team so far. He has seen some good athletic ability and strong desire.
“We have great kids who will look you straight in the eye and do what we ask them to do,” Howington said of this year’s team. “I have been very encouraged by it.”
And even though there are many positives at north Posey, there is no substitute for hard work. Howington said that when the team steps onto the court, they know there is still a lot of work to do and they get after it.
“One of the first things we did was we walked out into the hallway and looked at the trophy case,” Howington said. “We realized there is no basketball hardware in there. So from day one, we want to change that and we have an opportunity to do something that no one in this basketball community has done in a long time. It is a great opportunity.”
Howington will be coming in with a small senior class. Only three seniors, Alec Werry, Wes Harness, and Kyle Whitmore dot the line-up this year. Noticeably absent is 6-4 senior Nick Neidig, a starter most of last season who has decided to continue to work on his football skills during the off season.
All three seniors are expected to start. Werry will most likely start at the point while Harness will move to the three spot and Whitmore, a prolific scorer for New harmony last season, will play the two spot.
“It’s a luxury with Wes having experience at the point,” Howington said. “And Kyle has experience there, as well. Kyle is very skilled offensively and has a scorer’s mentality. He can score in different ways. He can execute from the perimeter and he can put it on the floor and get to the rim. We are working on posting him up some and his mid-range game. Once he develops those aspects, he is going to be a tough match-up.”
With graduation and the departure of Neidig, the team will have a lack of size and experience inside.
“We’re expecting big things from our juniors,” Howington said. “We think that Cody Ungethiem can really help us out at the four and possibly five and Reed Gertiesen and Tyler Atkins have played very well. Those are the guys are looking to be in the rotation but we could go small, depending on the teams we play.”
Howington said he has inherited a pretty quick and athletic group and complimented Wadsworth saying that it was evident from day one that the players had been well-coached in the past few years.
“I have a ton of respect for Coach Wadsworth and what he has done for this program in the past four years,” Howington said. “He did a great job on the defensive end with his man-to-man principals and those are already established.”
There will be some differences between Wadsworth’s deliberate offensive style
“I think we can pressure the ball at times and score off our defense,” Howington said. “We will just have to our personnel and do what we have to do to put our team in the best position to win. We will probably run more sets than Coach Wadsworth, who ran a lot of motion offense. We will incorporate some of those principals, as well, but more sets.”
So will that lead to more points on the North Posey scoreboard this season?
“We hope so, particularly with the addition of Kyle (Whitmore) running the floor,” the coach said. “I think Kyle will take some pressure off of Wes and Alec. I am really enjoying it so far. Our motto this week has been, Be Better Than Yesterday. We just have to work hard each day and be ready for North on the 24th.”