Guard a fit for missing point
Basketball: Matt Scharien getting plenty of minutes replacing injured Knight
Wednesday, Jan 10, 2018 06:00 am
Holy Trinity Academy Knight guard Matt Scharien was sucking wind after practice last week.
He’s in great shape, it’s just that he’s been doing double-duty lately — and will have to do so at the Knights Classic this weekend.
Scharien had been sharing point guard duties with Eli McKitrick — until McKitrick broke his left wrist at a Red Deer tourney in early December.
“I was in disbelief — I thought he would get up shoot the free throws and keep going,” Scharien said. “When I saw it was a broken wrist, it started to set in that I would have to be ‘the guy’ for the next six weeks until it heals.
“When I played the whole second half, I realized I was going to have to really step up this season.”
Scharien had played some shooting guard with McKitrick on the floor — he was on the court when his teammate went down.
With Scharien running the offence full-time he said he brings a different style at the “1” than McKitrick.
“I like to slow it down a lot more — get it to the big guys and let them work inside,” Scharien said. “He likes to run the transition and get the fast-break, that’s where we differ.”
Although, the 6-foot-2 Scharien likes to thread the needle to the big boys like Justin Cyr and Kessler Bishop, he’s delighted to put one up from the outside with his left-handed soft-touch shot.
“My main role is to run the offence — make sure every offensive possession goes as smoothly as possible,” he said. “If the team needs some outside shooting, I can provide a lot of that as well… I like to shoot the ball outside. I think everyone loves to shoot the ball, but I also like getting it to a big guy who powers it in — coach [Sam Aiello] loves that too.”
Although Aiello would love to have McKitrick back to once again have a 1-2 punch at guard, he is pleased with Scharien’s effort at point.
“He has a good attitude, he’s intelligent and doesn’t put too much pressure on himself,” Aiello said. “He does what he needs to do. He’s been tired for sure, but he enjoys it.
“He loves the game.”
Scharien estimates he is playing 35-minutes plus a game — with plenty of support from his teammates.
“They have been super-supportive,” Scharien said. “They are telling me I am doing a good job, even when I am struggling they keep me positive. Helping me through this so we can play at a high level.”
If he needs a breather, Grade 10 guard Riley Thorn — The Future — is ready to step in.
“He’s been a real standout,” Scharien said. “He makes great decisions. Once he develops in the next two years, he will be a force to reckon with.”
Scharien is a student-athlete, receiving honours with distinction for his grades. Basketball will have to be placed on the backburner in the future.
The Grade 12 student plans to study business in the future, possibly at UBC, University of Toronto, or U of C. Although he loves seeing plenty of minutes, he can’t wait to have his friend back in the court in about two weeks.
“Though I like playing a lot of time down the stretch, I will be happy to share time with a point guard like Eli, because he’s good.”
The Knights Classic will tip-off on Friday with host Holy Trinity Academy taking on the Chestermere Lakers at 2 p.m. in what will likely be a raucous gym.
It will be the first time this season the Knights have met the Lakers, who HTA will meet down the road in the 4A South Central zone playoffs in March.
The Lakers have had plenty of success at the Classic – beating HTA in the final from 2014-2016.
The tournament favourite is defending champion the St. Peter the Apostle Spartans who beat HTA in the finals in 2017. HTA last won the title in 2011.