CENTRAL BOYS BASKETBALL

Bringing the energy

Madison Stepp battles for a ball against Roosevelt.

Photo by Lukas Eggen
Madison Stepp battles for a ball against Roosevelt.



photo

Madison Stepp

INDEPENDENCE — Madison Stepp entered the 2015-16 season with a pretty good idea where he’d fit in for Central’s boys basketball team.

“I felt like I would be able to start, play some good defense and be that ‘energy guy,’” Stepp said.

The senior post has more than fit the bill so far this year.

Stepp likes to get physical. As a tight end during football, Stepp was called upon to both block in the tre-nches and be a receiver.

“Playing football has definitely helped me with basketball and vice versa,” Stepp said. “Football helped make me a lot quicker, which has allowed me to play better this year.”

In the spring, Stepp plays rugby through a club team — a sport that not only increases physical strength, but his endurance as well.

“It’s a different pace,” Stepp said. “You’re constantly moving so you have to get used to that.”

During basketball, Stepp isn’t afraid to step into the paint and get physical with whoever he’s guarding.

“When he plays in control, Madison does some great things on the court,” Central coach Tim Kreta said. “We can all see that.”

Up until seventh grade, Stepp appeared headed in a different direction for his winter sport — wrestling.

“In middle school, you can do both sports, so I decided I wanted to try to play basketball,” Stepp said.

Without any prior basketball experience, Stepp showed natural talent and determination.

He made the school’s “B” team that season, but basketball had become his new focus during the winter.

“I liked it better than wrestling,” Stepp said. “I felt like I got to use my athleticism more in basketball.”

Basketball provided him with an avenue to be aggressive and use his physical skills the most. He just had to learn how to make sure his physical tools didn’t get the best of him.

“Sometimes he’s a football player on the basketball court,” Kreta said. “He’s learning the finesse side of the game. I love him to death.”

Once he arrived at high school, the then-freshman had a new reality check.

“I was surprised how much faster the game is now than it was in middle school,” Stepp said.

He didn’t let his lack of experience hold him back, though.

INDEPENDENCE — Madison Stepp entered the 2015-16 season with a pretty good idea where he’d fit in for Central’s boys basketball team.

“I felt like I would be able to start, play some good defense and be that ‘energy guy,’” Stepp said.

The senior post has more than fit the bill so far this year.

Stepp likes to get physical. As a tight end during football, Stepp was called upon to both block in the tre-nches and be a receiver.

“Playing football has definitely helped me with basketball and vice versa,” Stepp said. “Football helped make me a lot quicker, which has allowed me to play better this year.”

In the spring, Stepp plays rugby through a club team — a sport that not only increases physical strength, but his endurance as well.

“It’s a different pace,” Stepp said. “You’re constantly moving so you have to get used to that.”

During basketball, Stepp isn’t afraid to step into the paint and get physical with whoever he’s guarding.

“When he plays in control, Madison does some great things on the court,” Central coach Tim Kreta said. “We can all see that.”

Up until seventh grade, Stepp appeared headed in a different direction for his winter sport — wrestling.

“In middle school, you can do both sports, so I decided I wanted to try to play basketball,” Stepp said.

Without any prior basketball experience, Stepp showed natural talent and determination.

He made the school’s “B” team that season, but basketball had become his new focus during the winter.

“I liked it better than wrestling,” Stepp said. “I felt like I got to use my athleticism more in basketball.”

Basketball provided him with an avenue to be aggressive and use his physical skills the most. He just had to learn how to make sure his physical tools didn’t get the best of him.

“Sometimes he’s a football player on the basketball court,” Kreta said. “He’s learning the finesse side of the game. I love him to death.”

Once he arrived at high school, the then-freshman had a new reality check.

“I was surprised how much faster the game is now than it was in middle school,” Stepp said.

He didn’t let his lack of experience hold him back, though.

Once he learned to control his body, Stepp has carved out his role as one of the Panthers’ hardest working players.

As Kreta works to finalize his rotation, Stepp and his teammates are becoming more comfortable with each other by the day.

“We’re still learning how to play with each other,” Stepp said. “I think people are starting to understand what their roles are.”

The Panthers, which lost to Roosevelt 66-51 on Monday, hosts Mountain View Saturday at 2 p.m. They are close to rounding into shape, Stepp said.

As Central hopes to find its stride before the start of Mid-Willamette Conference play, it will be Stepp helping give his teammates an energy boost whenever they need it. Now, Kreta hopes his teammates follow suit.

“The kids understand the importance of not only playing with each other, but for each other,” Kreta said. “Madison has been the guy for us, that solid foundation. The rest of the guys are starting to click in practice. Now we just need to transfer that to games.



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