By Sam Wilson
Pete Weishan knows there’s only so much coaching he has to do, or even can do, in a senior all-star style basketball game.
After all, the coaches for last week’s fifth annual Big 30 Senior Classic only get about an hour of practice with their teams before their games later that afternoon at Portville Central School. Weishan, a longtime basketball coach at Salamanca and currently the Warriors’ junior varsity boys coach, will man the sideline for the New York boys. Weishan has simple rules for how he coaches senior games like this one.
“I’ve done three of them so far and it’s just let the kids play and try to play within themselves,” he said. “The only thing I stress is stay within yourself, try not to do things to try to look cool. Play the game it was meant to be played and play the way you’re capable of playing it. I think that’s the biggest thing, because sometimes you get into these senior games, they try all these alley-oops and things and they don’t really totally show their skills. And get them to play together, which I’m sure they will.”
Weishan planned to familiarize himself with his roster this week, particularly the players from Allegany County he didn’t see during the season.
“The only one I know from Allegany County is (Belfast’s Adam) Enders,” he said. “We only have an hour of practice ahead of time, so there’s not much you’re going to do other than just organize them pretty much.
“Just have a couple out of bounds plays and maybe put in one or two basic, easy plays so you get someone to shoot and score. That’s about it.”
New York’s roster includes one senior from Salamanca, guard Tyler Hedlund, and one from Ellicottville, forward Steven Rowland. It also features two members of Olean’s undefeated regular season squad: Mike Schmidt and Matt Droney.
“It’s a lot of firepower,” Weishan said. “There’s a lot of people that can score, starting with Enders. I think he’s got the highest scoring average of anybody that’s going to be on the team plus of course Schmidt and Droney from Olean are good scorers and good all-around players. Enders is a good all-around player. They’re all good all-around players.
“You’ve got one of the best point guards in the area by far (Schmidt) so it’ll be interesting. I’ve got to figure out who to play when, that’s the hardest thing.”
The teams in both the boys and girls games follow a set rotation with each timeout break, but coaches can choose who to pair together in those rotations.
In the regular season, Salamanca faced Rowland and Ellicottville: “he’ll give us some size and he shoots the ball very well too,” Weishan said. It also played Pioneer’s Nick Rinker, who “can put some points on the board,” along with Allegany-Limestone’s senior duo of Sam Flanders and Conner Golley.
“Those two are two really solid players there, I love both those players a lot, and I got to see them enough,” he said.
Also on the team from Allegany County are Chris Calladine (Andover), Joe Tronetti (Wellsville) and Carter Scholla (Scio), as is Gabriel Lucena from New Life Christian in Olean.
The boys game tips off at 5 p.m. after the girls game at 3.
Ellicottville’s Linnea Jimerson is among the 12 players selected to the New York squad, which will be coached by Max Payne of Pioneer.
Also on the New York girls roster are: Briana Broadwell (Franklinville), Bryn Milne (Portville), Bailey and Mackenzie Bennett (Genesee Valley), Grace Greer (Archbishop Walsh), Jana Whitehouse and Quincy Buckley (Wellsville), Sara Pfeiffer and Justine Brooks (Olean), Carmen Mancuso (Fillmore), Falyn Lewis-Ellison (Whitesville).
At halftime of the girls game, three individuals will join the Big 30 Basketball Hall of Fame in its fifth annual class: Jim Colestro (Bradford Central Christian), Jim Snyder (Olean) and Jim Turner (Port Allegany).
Halftime of the boys game will mark the unveiling of the Big 30 Athletic Fund’s scholarship recipients for student-athletes in the area from both New York and Pennsylvania.