Summerbell explains that he has had many opportunities of winning the title with previous Serpent teams, but after last year’s overtime loss in the state semifinal game, he knew he would have a good squad with the returning players.
“It was a matter of keeping everything together and everyone focused. We had a great preseason where we had tough opponents. We came out 8-5, but in reality we could have been 12-1,” the coach explains.
Part of the success was getting the boys focused and playing basketball together, again and as Summerbell points out, “Believing in themselves.”
When questioned what the different between the boys basketball teams Summerbell has coached in the past and the champions of today, he reiterated, “They came back focused and believing in themselves.”
“We have had winning programs for quite some time, but you’ve got to get over that hump. Once you get a good core group of kids and the leadership we had with the three seniors this year was outstanding. They were all three captains from last year so it all kind of fell into place,” he explains.
With the loss of seniors, Taylen Wachsmuth, Andre Davis and Brandon West, Summerbell realizes that it may be tough, but knows that with some work, next year’s team should be right back in the conference play-offs. He credits the upcoming junior varsity team. Many of the boys now coming up through the ranks, have played under the direction of Summerbell and his assistant, Nathan Ridley. The fundamentals, goals and direction are not new to these players as they are now used to Summerbell and Ridley’s coaching styles.
Summerbell doesn’t take all the credit for coaching. He praised Ridley and Tevis Jones, who both helped to mentor the boys and make the reality of a championship win, more than just a dream.
He doesn’t use words such as I or me. It is continuously – we or us. Possibly one of the reasons why this team has a stable foundation.
Coaching has been in Summerbell’s blood. He has coached for 13 years as the varsity coach of MCHS and three years as junior varsity coach. Summerbell worked under Don Orndorff and when Orndorff retired, he realized that the basketball program was turning around and didn’t want to see it drop, so he stayed coaching and mentoring many teams.
A Nevada State champion himself, Summerbell graduated from Churchill High School in 1966 and was a part of their winning basketball team.
“I have won it as a player and now as a coach,” he concludes.
“My feet finally hit the ground. I just now have realized what these kids have done. As coaches, all we can do is put them in the best position we can put them in. They have to play the game,” he states.
“As long as the kids are good kids – I don’t want to turn my back on them. As a coach, it has been great,” he concludes.