The first seven games of Waite' boys basketball season have gotten good reviews, but seven games does not a season make.
Coach Dave Pitsenbarger said the Indians know that just because of their fast start, they can't afford to just show up and expect to win the rest of the way.
"We definitely have to be prepared," Pitsenbarger admitted. "We can't be happy with what we've done. We have a tough schedule from top to bottom. There's not a breather in there."
Waite's upcoming schedule won't allow any breathers. The remaining teams on the Indians' schedule could care less that they are 6-1 and 2-0 in the City League. Waite, coming off a 72-62 loss at Dublin Coffman — the Indians trailed 63-60 with 40 seconds left — had a six-day break between Coffman and a game against preseason CL favorite St. John's Jesuit last Friday night (Jan. 9).
The Indians then played preseason Northern Lakes League favorite Southview, which has already beaten St. John's, before meeting rival Clay and then facing a vastly improved Rogers team.
Still, Pitsenbarger likes the way a team that graduated six seniors from last year's 14-7 squad has approached the season.
"Our kids don't quit and they are starting to believe in themselves," he said. "A lot of people told them with us losing all those seniors that we wouldn't be competitive, that it would be hard to compete in the City League. We kept emphasizing the athleticism we had, and with our competition last summer, they got a foundation where they could compete. We got a couple of seniors back and we have some good young athletes who are really helping us out."
Last year Waite's freshmen, junior varsity and varsity teams all reached the CL final four. The league coaches predicted a fifth-place finish for the Indians this year.
"As a program we believed the kids could do it and some people questioned what we had coming back," Pitsenbarger said. "We drilled into them that we're fine and, hopefully, we can rebuild year after year."
The coach added that his team's fast start — Waite already has wins over CL rivals St. Francis de Sales and Bowsher — is a reflection on the work the players put in during the off season.
"We allow the kids to come in and shoot, and we went to two or three different shootouts and two or three summer leagues," Pitsenbarger said. "We devoted a lot of time to those kids and they devoted time to the program. They asked to get into the weight room and they started seeing a difference in their body, and their self-confidence has started to rise. It's unreal."
Darious Glover, a 6-3 senior forward, leads the Indians in scoring at 21.3 points per game and in rebounding (10.1). He scored 24 points in a win over Dayton Thurgood Marshall. Glover has come off the bench during the first seven games.
"He's accepted that role as the sixth man," Pitsenbarger said. "Once he steps in, he just brings an unbelievable spark to the team. He brings a whole lot of energy. He is a leader and he's accepted that role off the bench. We are eventually going to have to go to him as a starter because he's a great athlete."
Ke-sean Harris, a 6-0 sophomore guard, is averaging 15.9 points and his brother, 6-2 sophomore guard/forward Dishon Harris, is averaging 7.9 points. Antonio Allen, a 6-6 junior, is averaging 9.7 points and 6.7 rebounds.
The Indians' other starters are senior point guard Dave Butte (5.3 ppg, 3.7 apg.) and junior forward Anthony Perrin (3.1 ppg.). Senior guard Evan Bauer has also started this season, while 6-5 junior Luke Murphy is averaging 3.1 points.
Waite also expects to get 6-5 sophomore Henry Newson back from a football ankle injury in the next few weeks.
In the meantime, the Indians will continue to strive to get better in a few areas, Pitsenbarger said.
"We need to execute better offensively," he said. "We've been rushing some shots. Our turnovers are down, but we are rushing too many shots rather than executing our offense. Our post players need to get more touches. With the holidays off, we need to get in better shape, even though we can go 10-12 deep."