THE RICHMOND HIGH SCHOOL boys basketball program has a new coach in Jon Spear.

THE RICHMOND HIGH SCHOOL boys basketball program has a new coach in Jon Spear.

RICHMOND

Former jayvee coach Jon Spear takes over the Richmond High School boys basketball program, which went 4-14 last year with no postseason.

The 32-year-old Spear, who coached three varsity years at Wisdom, is the instrumental music teacher at Richmond.

He grew up in Nobleboro and attended Medomak Valley where he played under the legendary Scott Graffam. He’s been the jayvee and assistant varsity coach for Phil Houdlette over the last three years.

“Phil’s a great coach and I learned a lot … being a young coach it’s easy to let your emotions get going,” said Spear. “Phil’s a great example on how to stay calm in any situation and how it affects your kids. There were times when it would have been easy to get really worked up and he didn’t. It helped to keep the kids calm, let them regroup and get back into the game, especially if it was a tough situation.”

His coaching philosophy off the court is mentor, coach, friend. “I think it’s all of those. The friend part, you still have to make sure you’ve got their respect and that you’re not thinking as friend and not as coach. I like to be there to joke around with them I like being a teacher right here in the school because it’s easy for me if I hear from another teacher that one of my players is having a hard time, or having a discipline problem, I’m right there to help out.

“I think I’ve got a great groups of kids this year. We have a new grading system here and last year it was a little rough with eligibility problems, but this year I said ‘guys you’ve got to stay on top of this and if you need help come on in and I’ll work with you as a teacher and stuff like that. And, I’m pretty sure all of my kids are going to be eligible come Friday. They’re working hard on and off the court, which is what I push.”

And, on the court?

“Offensively, we’ll run a lot out of a motion set. We run a lot of set plays … I like some of the stuff Phil’s run in the past so I’ve taken some of that and added some of my own things as well.

“Right now, offensively, we’re trying to figure out just what are our roles. I’m really putting forward to them that’s it’s going to be a team effort. I don’t think there’s going to be that one person who’s going to give 15-to-20 points a game. I think it’s going to have to come from different people on different nights.

“I’d like to try and get the ball into our big guys, so that you’re not one-dimensional … you’re not all out there on the perimeter. I’d like to see us drive and shoot … I want kids cutting to the basket. I want them driving to the hole a lot more than we have in the past. I want us cutting and being aggressive to the hole. This year we’ve got a pretty athletic group. We got some fast kids who can play defense, so we’re going to take it and run.

Defensively?

“I want an aggressive up-inyour face man-to-man because we got the athletes to do that,” said Spear. “Are they refined basketball players? Not yet, but we’re working towards that. Richmond, for as long as I’ve been here, has always played good defense. If we encounter special situations when we want to throw in some kind of zone, or something like that, then we’ll do it. You’ve got to look at your matchups. Sometimes we’ll face teams with some very good players and those man-to-man matchups might not work to get the job done. Sometimes you have to employ a team philosophy where you’re employing a box-and-one or diamond-andone.

“I like to press and do zone press so we may fall back on a quick zone.”

He made sure he was ready for the season.

“The first week was fun.,” said Spear. “I made sure going into it that I was prepared … I had my practices detailed right out because I knew what I wanted to do. We have a new jayvee coach, Mike Ladner, who comes over from Hall- Dale, and he’s been great in that if we’re going to improve on last year we have to work harder than anybody else.

“It’s early, but … I think our strengths will be our defense, which should keep us in games. If Richmond is competitive in games, the games are in the low 40’s. And, I’ve got a pretty deep bench of athletic kids.”

Richmond will be led by senior co-captains Randy Moody (F/C) and Wiscasset transfer Eddie Stewart (6-1, F), along with classmates Xavier Trask (G/F) and Joey McCluskey (F).

In the junior class look for Sean Bernier (G), Jonathan Simmons (G) and Bailey Johansen (6-1, F), while sophomores are Marcus Blake (F), Cameron Emmons (G) and Jason Patterson (6-1, F). Freshmen are Tyler Soucy (G) and Mike Stewart (F/C).

“Randy has had a lot of playing time with us and Eddie comes to us and is a fantastic athlete,” said Spear. “Xavier took last year off, but the year before that played jayvees for me and is a really good player. He’s matured out and gotten taller. I think he’ll help us out. Joey McCluskey has been on my jayvee teams and knows the game really well.

“In West D, Valley will be tough, obviously, Forest Hills will be good and they didn’t lose anybody I don’t think. Hyde, we don’t play in the regular season, but you never know what you’re going to get with Hyde. Greenville’s a very athletic team and they’re a battle for us every time.”

Non-conference matchups include Old Orchard Beach and Acadia Christian.

The season opener for the Bobcats is Dec. 7 at home against Greenville, with key matchups Dec. 21 (home, Valley) and at Old Orchard Beach (Jan. 2).

Girls basketball

Among the 2011/12 highlights for Molly Bishop’s Bobcats was a 16-1 regular-season record, with Richmond beating Rangeley 46-33 for the Western Maine Class D title. The Bobcats lost to Washburn 60-35 in state Class D Championship for the second consecutive season and lost guard Danica Hurley to graduation.

“Our goal is to bring intensity and confidence to every game, to pressure the ball to disrupt the opponents offense, to fine tune personal skills to benefit the team,” said Bishop. “We have a variety of new offenses designed to isolate players and to take advantage of our specific strengths.”

Bishop believes the Bobcats can make another run at a state championship.

“Yes, we are returning multiple players, who are not only talented but hardworking, so we’re hoping we’ll be back in the running.

“Our strengths this year are dedication, an experienced starting lineup, and good team chemistry. We are all looking towards the same goal, and that’s what make us unique.”

Returning seniors are Jamie Plummer (F), Alyssa Pearson (F), Payton Johnson (G), Brianna Snedeker (G), Emily Leavitt (F), Ciarra Lancaster (F) and Noell Acord (G).

Among returning juniors, look for Haley Murphy (G) and Morgan Harrington (G).

“Jamie Plummer is our leading scorer and rebounder and has been for the last three years,” added Bishop, whose squad also hosts Greenville on Dec. 7. “She’s closing in on her 1,000-point milestone. Brianna Snedeker and Noell Acord are the returning leaders for assists.”

Freshmen newcomers include Autumn Acord (G), Kalah Patterson, (G), Julie Plummer (F) and Kelsea Anair (F).

Richmond visits Rangeley in a rematch of the Western D final on Dec. 14 and hosts the Lakers on Jan. 15. Also, the Bobcats visits Class C Old Orchard Beach on Jan. 2.


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