New Covenant has a new head coach in Ryan Worley coming off a 13-13 season last year. Worley comes to New Covenant with a long coaching career that includes 12 years as an assistant for the College of the Ozarks men.
“First and foremost the reason I was attracted to coaching at NCA was the school itself and what their mission is. NCA is a school committed to academic excellence while teaching biblical truth and developing Christ-like character in its students. I have desired to be in a place where we can work to help develop students and use athletics as a platform to glorify God. I also believe that they have had their share of talented athletes come through the halls and will continue to have very good athletes here,” Worley said. “There is also an appeal to coaching basketball in the Springfield area no matter what classification it is. Whether it is an outlying school or directly in the city, basketball has a great fan base and following in this area. So I am excited to be at a place that has talented, competitive kids while putting the same emphasis on using the game of basketball or sports to help teach life and character building lessons.”
Worley has a strong group of returning players to work with this season including the three leading scorers from last season’s team in seniors Tim Smith, Cameron Altena and Brennan Williams. Smith averaged 19.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game last year. Altena chipped in 13 points per game and team-high 4 assists. Williams was just behind him at 11.3 points per game.
Senior Jonathan Dille, Logan Jackson and Trey Stutzman along with junior Garrett Simmerman will join Smith, Atena and Williams as leaders this year. Simmerman sat out last season after transferring from Ash Grove. He is a 6’8” post player that will have a big impact this season.
Sophomores Nathan Good and Simeon Martin will see varsity time this year. Jacob Oakley is a senior that did not play last year but has looked good in practice according to Worley.
Size will be a strength for the Warriors this season.
“(We) will have the opportunity to put a big group out on the floor and could be bigger than most of our opponents at each spot,” Worley said. “We hope to use our length to create some second-chance points on the glass while also eliminating some of our opponents second-chance opportunities by finish our defensive possession with a rebound. Besides our size, this group has bought into what we want for them and that’s to be as good a defensive team as we can be. They have played a lot of zone in the past so it is an adjustment period right now for them but the buy in has been amazing with this group.”
New Covenant may have an adjustment period getting used to Worley’s style of play, but the Warriors still have big goals this season.
“I think this group has high expectations for themselves and for what they would like to achieve this year but it is not something we focus on or talk about much,” Worley said. “This group has been very good at just trying to make what they do today better then what they did yesterday knowing that the results are found in our daily approach. While also recognizing that they are learning a new system and that they need to be patient with themselves and their teammates in this process.”
New Covenant opens the season on Nov. 16 at home against Spokane.