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Seman, South put focus on future

December 12, 2004|By BOB PARASILITI

Dennis Seman seems to have one unwritten rule for the South Hagerstown basketball team this year.

Live for today, but play for tomorrow.

It's a motto the Rebels will have to get comfortable with as Seman shepherds South through his first season as coach. The 2004-05 season will definitely be a case of "It isn't whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game."

"This year is strictly a learning experience," Seman said Friday after South suffered a 79-30 pounding at the hands of Allegany in the season opener. "I'm not focusing on any wins this year. This is not a throw-away year. We're focusing on the future. I'm going to be real happy in two to three years."

Seman took over at South after coach Bob Starkey resigned to take over at Jefferson. Starkey's nine-year stint with the Rebels included five state tournament appearances in the last seven years.

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Starkey's wide-open style was gutted though with the graduations of David Miner, Washington County's all-time leading public school scorer, and 6-foot-8 Jesse Gutekunst, while 6-7 Gene Johnson transfered to St. Maria Goretti.

It's a new season with a new philosophy and a new group of players that will be left in Seman's hands to build from the ground up.

"This is why we have only one or two seniors on the team, so we can get the leadership," Seman said. "We are trying to play a lot of the younger kids to get them used to things for the future."

It's a plan that has Seman professing patience and promising not to go anywhere any time soon.

"These kids aren't going to be comfortable in this offense at least until we play everyone the second time this season," Seman said. "I've seen it all before when running this offense. Everything takes time. Allegany looked good and their coach has been there for five years. They are used to his system. That's where we are going to be in time."

Allegany clamped the defense down on the Rebels early and used a 21-0 run that overlapped the first two quarters to push out to a 31-5 lead. South felt its way around, trying to run the offensive sets but the moves were far from instinctive. It wasn't until the final six minutes of the game, when they trailed by more than 40 points, that South began getting the proper spacing and started to execute the set.

"Sometimes when you coach you have to stand back. I didn't want to yell to get them discouraged," Seman said. "I wanted to stay positive with them."

Seman said he kept things in perspective while the Rebels struggled.

"The first thing I was looking at was how many easy scores did we miss. There were a couple of them," Seman said. "Then I was looking to see how many turnovers we had by not getting the ball to the right guy. Then, when the defense broke down, we had some mental lapses. You just have to let them play through it."

Wins might be few for the Rebels this season, but if all goes to plan, it will be a thing of the past in years to come under Dennis Seman.

"Their attention was great and they listened well," Seman said. "We have to play as a team to replace the 37 points a game David Miner had last season. We don't have that kind of go-to guy. We will get better and we will be winning in the next year or two. If they wanted someone to come in here and win immediately, they got the wrong guy. I'm here to be a teacher."

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