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McIntosh takes over reins of Tri boys basketball program

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Scott McIntosh is the new head coach of the Tri High School boys varsity basketball team. McIntosh has plans for the Titans to win right away and believes that a good defense creates scoring opportunities for the offense.
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Scott McIntosh (right), new boys basketball head coach at Tri High School, helps supervise and instruct at a Titan girls basketball practice in late October. McIntosh treats girls and boys the same when coaching them and believes giving every player the tools she or he needs to succeed.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

LEWISVILLE — The southeastern part of Henry County has a rich tradition of boys high school basketball. Lewisville, Spiceland, Straughn, and (until it closed) New Lisbon High School fielded competitive teams that many folks in the county still remember.

In 1961, Lewisville, led by the legendary Marion Pierce, won the New Castle sectional in the second season of the Fieldhouse’s existence with a 56-49 victory over the host Trojans in the championship game.

A year later (1962), Spiceland upset host New Castle in the opening round 48-46 when the Trojans’ Butch Joyner, an Indiana All-Star in 1963, was a junior and bothered by an ankle injury. It was the first of only two opening-round losses New Castle suffered in the Fieldhouse under single class basketball.

The Bears, Stingers, and Indians consolidated to form Tri High School starting with the 1968-69 season and had success as New Castle sectional champions back-to-back in 1976 and 1977.

But the Titan boys basketball program has fallen on tough times in recent years. The Titan boys last had a winning season during the 2004-05 campaign, and that was the last season they hoisted the trophy as sectional champions.

Tri also is the only county boys team not to have played in the Henry County Tournament championship game since that event was resumed earlier this decade.

But times may be changing with the hiring of Scott McIntosh as head coach of the Tri High School boys varsity basketball team. Titan fans hope so.

McIntosh, a 1988 Tri High School graduate, has the intention of getting the Titan boys playing for championships year after year starting now.

“When I was interviewing for the job, Athletic Director Bryan Peggs told me it might take some time to build the program back up,” McIntosh said. “I told him that I wasn’t going to take time, but that I expected to be competitive our very first year. We have a very good, and smart, group of six to seven seniors this season, and I’m not going to waste their senior season focusing just on the development of younger players. They put time into the program, so we’re going to put time in making their final season as good as we can make it.”

Getting the players to believe they can win and getting them to play to the best of their ability is a key to generating success according to McIntosh.

“After I was hired, one of our seniors came up and told me he wasn’t going to play basketball and I told him that’s OK,” McIntosh explained. “Then he shows up at the first day of summer workout and I asked him why he was there. He said his mom is making him come. A couple weeks later, he came up and told me that he’s glad his mom is making him play because this is the best that it’s been during his four years of high school.”

McIntosh relayed a bit about his background as a coach before accepting the position at Tri.

“I actually coached a short time at Tri before coming to New Castle to coach with Steve Burris at the eighth-grade level,” McIntosh said. “Then we moved to Greensburg when my son Bryant became a sophomore and I was on the coaching staff there when we won two consecutive state championships when Bryant was a junior and senior.”

After Bryant Mcintosh graduated from Greensburg, Scott McIntosh stayed on with the Pirates for another year.

“After Bryant’s freshman season at Northwestern and my daughter Taylor graduated from Greensburg, we decided we wanted to be free to travel to see Bryant play,” Scott McIntosh stated. “So we did that. Bryant graduated after a fine career at Northwestern, played basketball overseas in Belgium, and is now back in the U.S. as video coordinator for the Northwestern men’s basketball team. He feels that’s a first step in his goal to become a Division I men’s college basketball coach.”

McIntosh admitted that he also has been an AAU basketball coach for 20 years and can’t get enough of it.

“I love the game of basketball and I love coaching basketball,” McIntosh said. “It’s in my blood.”

McIntosh hit the ground running once he was hired as boys basketball coach at Tri. He held open gym and workouts during the summer, and was pleasantly surprised at the turnout, as the Titans have several multi-sport athletes.

“We had pretty good turnouts in the summer, usually 24 to 30 guys a night, and I’ve been impressed with the quality we have,” McIntosh noted. “One of the players said the previous year, summer workouts attracted maybe three of four players and perhaps seven on a good night. Even during the fall sports season, we’ve had guys come around after football practice to see what we’ve been doing in open workouts.”

McIntosh wants to start his tenure as coach fresh and free from anything in the recent past.

“After I was hired, I went into the coach’s office and threw everything away,” McIntosh said. “The past is just that, the past. We’re starting with a clean slate, so I ordered new uniforms, new practice jerseys, and anything I needed to help distance us from the past.”

McIntosh was around for some of last season’s Titan games and that helped stir his interest in the coaching vacancy when it became open.

“I saw some things last year that I thought we could do better,” McIntosh said. “I’m a firm believer that if you don’t play good defense, you aren’t going to win. I really believe in good man-to-man defense and that defense can create your offense. That’s what we worked at all summer - playing good defense and not worrying about offense. We went 8-6 in our scrimmages with other teams and many of the games we did lose were really close.”

This doesn’t mean that McIntosh won’t resort to a zone if circumstances indicate that is the best way to go.

“If you can play good man-to-man defense, you can play a zone defense,” McIntosh said. “Man-to-man defense was our bread and butter down at Greensburg, but I remember during Bryant’s senior year we were losing at the semi-state and I suggested we go to a 2-3 zone even though it wasn’t what we originally planned. We did so and gradually clawed our way back into the game, not going back to man-to-man until 40 seconds were left in the game. We won that game.”

That brings up another item in Mcintosh’s coaching arsenal—never be afraid to make adjustments at any time during the game.

“Some coaches make adjustments only at halftime during games,” McIntosh remarked. “I say that you make adjustments at the time conditions warrant it, because if you wait until halftime or some other time, it may be too late.”

McIntosh also is a hands-on coach and believes giving his players what they need to succeed.

“Every practice and every workout, I tell my players how much I love them and how much I enjoy being around them,” McIntosh stated. “Every player has strengths and should be encouraged to build on those strengths, but we want our players to also work on things they’re not as good at. Also, we’ll have scouting reports we give to our players on every team before we play them. Do everything you possibly can to make your players better and increase their chances of winning.”

Athletic Director Peggs told McIntosh before he accepted the job to just do things the right way and the wins will come.

“We’ll do things the right way,” McIntosh said. “There’s no reason we can’t win here if we do that. I expect us to be competing for a sectional championship our first season along with being competitive in our conference (the TEC), and playing for a Henry County Tournament title.”

Before the boys have their first official practice this coming Monday, McIntosh has been working with the Titan girls basketball team coached for a long time by Jeff Miller.

“Before I accepted the job, I asked Coach Miller if I should take it,” McIntosh said. “He told me yes and that it would be great to have me back at Tri. Coach Miller is a great mentor and a good friend. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him. I coach girls the same way I coach boys.  I’m primarily helping them (girls) with shooting technique. The girls asked me if I would come back after boys practice starts, and I told them I would come back any time they wanted or needed me to.”

It appears that Coach McIntosh has returned the fun and enjoyment of playing boys basketball at Tri High School. 

“I’d like to thank my wife for being with me as I take this next step,” McIntosh added. “On Halloween, we had 30 boys from the team at our house distributing candy, and when the girls basketball team ran out of candy, they came to our house and joined us, so we had about 45 kids there. These kids are great and want to win. The Tri girls have been successful, so why not the boys? Why not us? I believe our time is now.”