SHERIDAN At the end of last season, all of the players for the Sheridan College mens basketball team cleaned out their lockers and moved to a new school and played for a new team, leaving Hayden Peterson as the lone returning General.
Peterson and transfer Marcus Stephens are the only players that have been through a full season of college basketball. The rest of the team is made up of freshmen.
With Peterson being one of the few college veterans, he took on a leadership role for the Generals. Peterson said he is not a vocal leader but tries to lead by example.
The team had some struggles early on. Peterson said players needed tounderstand they are no longer the main player. Every player was the guy on their team in high school but needed to figure out what role they have on their new team. Players have figured out their roles for the Generals, leading to team success.
From where we started to where we are now is a huge jump and I think a lot of people did not even think we would be where we are now, Peterson said. We have definitely improved and still have a ways to go.
Head coach Cody Ball said Peterson is a player he completely trusts to understand the game plan and know the scouting report. Peterson remembered all the different ways the Generals guarded a ball screen last season.
There are multiple ways a ball screen can be guarded, it is all dependent on the opposing team and game situation.
This trust has led to Peterson receiving the toughest defensive assignment in each game. Against Laramie County Community College, Peterson was assigned to guard Edward Oliver in the second half and not let him catch the ball. Oliver had 16 points in the first half. Peterson held Oliver to 3 points and helped change the momentum in the game, Ball said. SC went on to win 96-74.
Throughout the season, Peterson has also been tasked with guarding post players that have at least a six-inch height advantage, sometimes more. Ball said Peterson is a tough player that will not back down from anyone.
Hayden [Peterson] is the kind of kid every coach wants on his team, Ball said. He is not a problem at all off the court, he is a 4.0 student. He is a kid you can tell him guard their best player regardless of position.
Peterson said his role on the team also includes helping space the floor, going after every ball, playing hard and making shots.
Whatever it is I am down for it; I just want to win, Peterson said,
The Generals have lost their last two games and hosts Western Wyoming Community College Feb. 1. WWCC is undefeated in Region IX North play. SC lost 103-84 on the road to WWCC Jan. 11.
Peterson said the Generals played with WWCC for most of the game in Rock Springs.
The team was within four or five points until the final few minutes when fouling to close the gap allowed WWCC to pull away, Ball said.
The trip to Rock Springs is the longest road trip for the Generals in conference play. WWCC has to make the trip this time and, hopefully, the team can find a way to win the game and take down a top 10 team in the nation, he said.
The first meeting was the first game SC played without freshman guard Brett Thompson, who averaged 18 points per game in his 17 games played this season. Thompson is out for the season with an injury.
Ball said the team had a string of bad luck with Thompson being injured and players missing games because of family emergencies and suspensions. The Generals need to work on closing out games and reducing turnovers committed.
SC hosts WWCC Saturday with the womens game at 2 p.m. and the mens game at 4 p.m.
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