Tiger hoops coach dials out pressure, savors high hopes

By STEPHEN GLOVER

For the Call

When Oakville Senior High head boys’ basketball coach Kenny Ash took over the reins last season, he inherited a team with a 20-31 record over the previous two seasons.

A surprising 15-11 mark last year has created high expectations for the 2004-05 season, however.

Yet Ash has a different view on what “pressure” and “high expectations” really mean.

“An old coach once told me that pressure is feeding a wife and four kids without a job,” Ash told the Call. “The kids and the coaches have talked and we do have high expectations of ourselves this season.”

The return of senior Drew Martin has many Tiger fans excited. The forward averaged 18.3 points and 13.4 rebounds a game last year. Martin also led the Tigers in steals with 46, blocks with 64 and free-throw percentage at 76.9 percent.

“Drew (Martin) and Matt (McKiernan) are the cornerstones of what’s coming back from last year,” Ash said.

McKiernan averaged 8.6 points a game last season for the Tigers. The senior guard also generated 44 assists and 18 steals.

“Matt’s just an outstanding shooter and defender,” Ash said. “He’s just a top notch player.”

Ash also is excited about four other guards on this year’s team — seniors Tyler Forthaus and DeAndre Jackson along with juniors Jason Hall and Dustin Quicke.

Forthaus averaged 1.3 rebounds a game while recording 12 assists and three steals.

“Tyler’s a very smart kid and is a coach’s dream to work with,” Ash said. “He’s a smart player when he’s out on the court.”

Jackson appeared in nine games last season before being dropped from the team, scoring 3.4 points a game, while nailing three of nine shots from three-point range. He also grabbed 2.1 rebounds a game with eight assists, two steals and two blocked shots.

“He’s a fantastic and exciting player,” Ash said. We really expect a lot out of him this season.”

Hall and Quicke were not members of last year’s varsity squad. Hall played for the junior varsity squad, and Quicke is a transfer student from CBC.

“Jason’s a great shooter and ball handler and we’re looking for him to take the point guard spot,” Ash said. “What we’re going to try to do is push him into being the assists leader in the St. Louis area.

“Dustin’s an extremely good shooter and defends really well. I think he’ll have some good games for us this season.”

Another transfer to the Tigers this season is Casey Noll, who played for Parkway West last year.

Noll averaged 11 points and 4.9 rebounds a game for the Longhorns, who went an impressive 23-5. The senior forward also racked up 21 steals and 19 blocked shots.

Oakville battles Parkway North at noon Saturday at the Family Arena in St. Charles.