With the 2016-17 basketball year reaching its last few weeks, the boys Varsity Wildcats have already racked up an impressive season. The team stands in the Top 20 Class D teams in New York State, with an 11-2 record overall and a 5-1 record in the league, at the time of press. At the forefront of the team, blowing the whistle and calling the shots, is head coach Cory Emory. In his twentieth season coaching the Wildcats, Emory sat down with the Jamestown Gazette to reveal how his team’s matured, how community support impacts his athletes, and which player just scored his 1,000th career point.
Cortney: What can you tell me about the boys on your team this year and their talent? I hear one of your players just scored his 1,000th point on court.
Coach Emory: Yes, that’s true: that player is Chris Robson, and he’s actually my stepson. As for our team, we start three seniors and two juniors, and I actually have a good mix of guys on the bench. We have a sophomore, a couple juniors, and a couple more seniors, because we usually go about eight players deep. Our two leading scorers happen to be Chris, who is averaging about 21-22 points a game, and then Jared Gleason, a junior who’s averaging right around 13-14 points a game.
Cortney: Your team has been a strong competitor in Class D not only this year, but in many past years as well. How do you keep that momentum of success rolling forward?
Coach Emory: Sherman as a community is very supportive of basketball, so it’s really a tribute to the community. They find our team to be important – the parents, the kids. Once one team has success, it’s just kind of passed down from year to year. The players then have certain expectations that they want to live up to.
Cortney: What have been some of the greatest highlights this season?
Coach Emory: I would say Chris scoring his 1,000th point was a big highlight for the team. That was coming off last year, when our record was 12-10. So this year, it’s been great to just come out, play very well, and be able to compete. We’ve had some big wins over Silver Creek, Maple Grove, and early on against Frewsburg, which is playing very well this year.
Cortney: You mentioned last year’s record: 12-10. What changed from last season that improved your record so much?
Coach Emory: Last year we were young. We had a couple of seniors, but they really hadn’t played much before, so we were very much a junior-sophomore team. This year, they’ve grown up and matured. The seniors have kind of led our group on the court.
Cortney: What were your goals for the boys this season?
Coach Emory: Our goal every year is to take it one game at a time. I know that might sound cliché, but it’s true. When you look at the big picture, though, you’re always looking for league titles first and sectional titles second. Anything after that is just icing on the cake. I guess our motto is, “Be better than you were yesterday.” I think we say that every day. That’s really our ultimate goal.
To read more of Cortney Linnecke’s creative and informative contributions to the Jamestown Gazette, please go to www.jamestowngazette.com.