With his varsity basketball team gathered around him after practice on Thursday afternoon, Northview head coach Mitch Lancaster preached patience, a positive attitude and a 'workman-like' approach to Friday night's game against Terre Haute South.
The Knights will likely need to do the dirty work in order to get a 'W' against a South team that will be as close to full strength on Friday night as they will be all season.
Back in the Braves lineup will be junior point guard Armon Bassett who, along with Northview, gave South opponents fits last year.
Bassett who returns to the lineup after being academically ineligible the first portion of the season, gives the Braves the true point guard they've lacked all year long.
"He's a Division I-caliber player," commented Lancaster. "You've got to believe that they are happy to get him back. This summer with (Bassett) in their lineup they were 8-0 and the best team in the league."
A point guard is what the Braves have lacked the most in the first half of the season that saw them go 5-7 overall. With several different players thrust into a temporary point guard slot, the Braves ran few set offensive plays and had difficulty getting the ball to their big men in a position to score.
"I know their big men have to be practically frothing at the mouth now that they have someone who can get them the ball," said Lancaster.
For Northview, who won two of three games last year versus the Braves, the status of senior guard Logan Whitman will be a game-time decision according to Lancaster.
"Logan (Whitman) took probably the hardest fall and blow to the head that you could take and still be ticking."
The incident that Lancaster referred to came during the latter stages of the first quarter at Rockville High School Saturday night.
Whitman went up for a dunk attempt on a breakaway and was fouled hard by a Rox player. The blow sent Whitman careening into a wall and actually knocked him unconscious for several moments before he was taken to a nearby hospital for stitches on a cut on his forehead.
"Anytime a team has a degree of adversity, it's an opportunity for players to step up for their team," commented Lancaster.
While Whitman's status for the game will be decided prior to tip-off, their is no doubt about the readiness of the rest of the squad.
In Whitman's absence during the Rockville game, senior Zach Keyes recorded his second straight 34 point performance, in the process recording his 1,000th career point.
Josh Timm has averaged double-figures this year and has the ability to put up big numbers as well as Shawn Hughes and Matt Brand who are solid outside shooters.
Big men Craig Greenwood, Dan Hoover and Nick Wells will be counted on to match up with 6'6 senior Jeremy Lock of the Braves who has had big games versus Northview before.
Tyler Akers has also displayed scoring ability but has rarely been asked to carry that load. Extra court time could mean that each of these players might step up and increase their numbers should Whitman be forced to miss the weekend's games.
Saturday evening's contest is unique in that Indianapolis Broad Ripple's visit to Northview is part of just a one-year contract between the Rockets and Knights.
Even more special is the opportunity for area fans to get a look at Broad Ripple's George Hill who is currently listed as the state's leading-scorer after six games.
Hill has tallied nearly 40 points per game for the 1-6 Rockets. But don't let that record fool you. Broad Ripple is a talented squad whose played a rugged schedule that has included losses to Class 4A's No. 2 ranked Indianapolis Pike, No. 3 Indianapolis North Central and No. 8 Indianapolis Cathedral.
A matchup with 4A's No. 10 Indianapolis Arlington on Friday night leading to the Northview contest on Saturday night.
"They play one of the toughest schedules," noted Lancaster. "They aren't real big but they are very talented."
On Hill, Lancaster commented that, "he's a good shooter with range out to 25 feet. He gets points off rebounds. Everytime we've seen them on tape, teams have played a zone on him. He's their best shooter."
Certainly with a pair of tough games, one against a very familiar opponent and another against a bit of an unknown quantity, the Knights must bring their lunch pail and go to work. With nearly their entire varsity roster playing in their final half season of high school basketball the chance to make a lasting impression starts on Friday night.