Elks basketball affected by school’s appearance in state football championship
The Elkton football team is a little more than a week away from playing in its first state championship game since 2000. While that’s good news for the school, the Golden Elks boys’ basketball team will be feeling the effects.
Elkton, which begins its season on Tuesday against Rising Sun, will open the year with a skeleton roster and plenty of question marks as a majority of the team’s eventual players are still competing on the gridiron. One year after winning the Susquehanna Division and earning a promotion to the Chesapeake, the Elks’ encore campaign will likely be slow-moving out of the gate.
“You can’t fault the football players for being successful,” fifth-year coach Elkton coach Joe Zang said. “We’re going to be playing catchup. It’s not how we start, it’s how we finish. We may be a little behind the eight ball to get started, but at the end, in March, everyone makes the playoffs and we’re going to be ready to go by then.”
Even though his projected key contributors aren’t on the court yet, Zang, who will holding a second tryout following the conclusion of the football season, sees the silver lining in an otherwise unfortunate situation.
“If you think about it, the group of guys who are on the football team, and those on the basketball team now, they’re used to winning. Regardless of the sport, these guys are competitive,” Zang said. “They have a lot of success year in and year out and there’s no way to simulate that experience.
“You think about it, the last two years we’ve been in the sectional final [in basketball], played on the big stage in some big tournaments and the football team, as well. They went to the regional championship [in 2015] and now a state championship. That counts for something. That’s very valuable.”
The Golden Elks will prepare for the challenge of the upper division following a successful 2015-16 campaign in which they went 18-6 overall, including a 13-1 mark in the Susquehanna.
Zang also scheduled tough out-of-conference contests, including games against Newark (Del.), and reigning 2A East Region champion Queen Anne’s.
The end goal for Elkton is to escape the section finals, where it has suffered losses each of the past two postseasons.
“I think playing in the upper division is going to be huge, I think playing a difficult outof-conference schedule is going to be huge,” Zang said. “We know what it takes to get past the section finals regardless of who we play. [Those losses] can only make you stronger and make you better and that’s what we’re hoping this year.”
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The Elkton boys’ basketball team, led by coach Joe Zang, pictured, will compete in the Chesapeake Division this season.