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Josh Wieme adapting as head coach

Father's one-year leave opened door at K-W

By Pat Ruff

pruff@postbulletin.com

It's the little "things to remember" that have occasionally thrown Josh Wieme.

Like changing the battery in the team video camera, calling the local media outlets after his team's games, getting up every Saturday morning to be part of a radio sports talk show.

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Needing and remembering to do these things, Wieme says, have been the biggest difference between being the assistant boys basketball coach at Kenyon-Wanamingo, and being the head man this season.

Wieme moved up one spot on the K-W bench in response to his father, Jerry Wieme, taking a one-year leave from the Knights head job. Jerry, who'd coached the Knights for 20 years and last season directed them to their first state boys title, is taking a break from the boys program in order to pay closer attention to daughter Megan who is in her senior basketball season at K-W.

Josh, 25, is in his third year coaching the boys team. He spent the first two as his father's assistant.

"The difference between being the head coach and the assistant coach is the little things, like remembering to put video tape in our camera," Josh said. "What I do during practices and games, that hasn't changed that much. That's been the smoothest transition."

If the K-W players tell you that the transition has also been smooth for themselves, it's likely because in Josh they simply have a younger version of their former head coach.

No doubt, Josh really is his father's son. They dissect and view the game in the same way.

"We have the same beliefs," Josh said. "We both have a defense-first philosophy, and a belief that as a team we can always work harder."

The Knights are a vastly different team than last year's state championship group. Graduation assured that, as all five of the 2000-01 starters were seniors. For that reason, Josh has not felt much pressure this season despite having stepped in for a K-W coaching legend.

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The Knights began this week 5-4 overall.

"I haven't thought of it as if I am replacing my dad," said Josh, who notes that he does listen to advice from his father, who has been to the bulk of the K-W boys games. "This is just a one-year thing. And with us having graduated (all five starters) from last year, expectations went down."

Everyone's expectations, that is, except the coach's.

TIME FOR JM TO REASSESS? Rochester John Marshall began last week ranked fifth in state Class AAAA. By the time the week was over the Rockets had dropped two of three games in the ultra-competitive Rotary tournament and have now slipped out of the top 10.

Still, JM coach Eric Plitzuweit isn't looking at the tournament as a setback. Overall, he thought his team played well, despite falling to No. 7-ranked Elk River and unranked Osseo. But he agreed that his team has definite areas for improvement.

"Our biggest weakness is having a consistent scorer from the outside," said Plitzuweit, whose slipped to 5-2 team.

"But I also think we can improve just by playing as hard as we did (against Osseo, a 58-57 loss). With our size and quickness, we can be a very tough team to score against."

MAYO TRIES TO REGROUP: The Rotary tournament was least kind to Mayo. The Spartans went 0-3 in the event, including a dismal showing against Osseo in the first round.

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But Mayo coach Mark Kieffer noticed improvement in subsequent setbacks to Rochester Century and Woodbury.

It gives Kieffer hope as his young and inexperienced team heads into the new year.

"We saw better signs against Woodbury and Century, but in no way is our package now complete," Kieffer said. "How we will be by the end of the season is anyone's guess."

Mayo does have a couple of things going for it right now. Casey Adkins appears to have made a quick recovery after spraining his ankle against Osseo, and Sam Bachman led the team in scoring in all three of the Rotary tournament games. Bachman underwent knee surgery a month ago and his first game action was last week.

JUST ONE UNBEATEN: Last week there were five Rochester-area boys basketball teams that were unbeaten: John Marshall, Lourdes, Spring Grove, Lewiston-Altura and Zumbrota-Mazeppa. Now, we are down to one, Z-M.

JM lost to Elk River and Osseo, Lourdes lost to Menomonie (Wis.), Spring Grove lost to Blair-Taylor (Wis.), and L-A lost to Caledonia.

Z-M entered this week 7-0.

For tips or information for Pat Ruff's high school boys basketball notebook, please send e-mail to pruff@postbulletin.com

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