New coach aims to get Highlanders back to winning ways
Hines sees improvement in team's opening losses
Mequon — I ran into Homestead Superintendent Dr. Demond Means at halftime of what would be a painful 95-51 season-opening rout for the Highlander boys basketball team at the hands of a J.P. Tokoto-led Menomonee Falls squad Friday.
"Every process has to begin with small steps," I said.
Means rolled his eyes and laughed and said: "I needed to hear that."
That's because, the unfortunate scheduling for the Highlanders was actually the first game in the new coaching regime of Marquis Hines, who was brought in this past spring after long-time coach Ray Curry stepped down.
Hines, as almost everyone in the area knows, was the high-profile coach of the Milwaukee Vincent girls team that won three straight WIAA state titles from 2007-09.
He admits he likes a challenge, though maybe this was not the opponent (the defending Greater Metro Conference champions) he would have scheduled in his first game, especially with only two experienced hands back from an 11-12 team in 2009-10.
Homestead followed the Falls defeat with a more competitive effort in a 62-54 loss at the hands of Sheboygan North on Saturday.
"We didn't come out victorious, but it was better," said Hines. "It's still a new system, a new program. We're enjoying one another at this point. What we really need to do now is adopt a mentality of getting tougher."
History of turnarounds
Hines can call on a variety of experience as he looks to take the Highlanders back to their glory days. They have had three losing seasons in a row and six in the last eight years.
Earlier this decade, he took over and made competitive a Milwaukee Messmer boys program that was flat on its back, worked with Tom Diener and the Vincent boys when they were at their height and then took over and succeeded with the Vincent girls after the previous coach passed away unexpectedly.
But he said he missed working with boys, so that's why he went after the Homestead job.
"I know the history out here, how successful the football and track teams have been," he said. "I want us to get there eventually. I know it's not going to happen in one or two games, but we're working on developing the feeder program and we've got some good young kids out there, so I see the future as very bright, and we didn't lose our composure this weekend.
"… At one point this past weekend I set the guys down and asked them, 'Do we need to change styles? Do we need to go back to the old ways?' and they just said 'No, we just need to get used to one another.' "
Lots of new faces
And that encouraged Hines, as he works with a 15-man roster that has six seniors, but only two experienced hands in 5-11 point guard Dominic Wilder and 6-6 post Max Beckers.
Luke Worthington is a 6-7 sophomore who saw minutes last year, but aside from those three, the roster is chock-full of new names, including four sophomores and a freshman point guard in 5-9 LaMonte Bearden, whom Hines sees as the future of the program.
Other seniors include 5-11 Tony Benford, 6-1 Doug Mueller, 6-2 Andrew Debbink and 5-8 Ryan Fleming.
"We do have some good shooters, but with our height, I'd like to see us pound it down low," said Hines. "We've got a lot of football players trying to get their legs back, but we've worked hard to build relationships. The kids know that the lights have now come on and that people have certain expectations, but they know it will take time.
"Like I said, I like a challenge," Hines said. "My main goal is to develop student/athletes and make them better and get them to college. We'll go from there."
Hines takes over at HHS
Rough start should lead to better things
GAME NOTES: Against Falls, it was 7-0 before the Highlanders could get on the board and it was never close after that before a packed house in the Indians; gym. Bearden had 11 points to lead Homestead. Against North, the Highlanders had chances to close things out but 11 of 21 foul shooting did them in. Worthington led the way with 14 as Bearden had 10 and sophomore Jake Laihinen had eight.
UP NEXT: Homestead took on Brown Deer (1-0) on Tuesday and will challenge Milwaukee Northwest at 9:45 a.m. Saturday in the Terry Porter Classic at Milwaukee South.
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