Growth in St. Joseph's Wenske mirrors that of program
BY ALBERT ALVARADO - SPECIAL TO THE ADVOCATE
Dec. 17, 2012 at 12:17 p.m.
Updated Dec. 18, 2012 at 12:18 p.m.
When Luke Wenske first joined St. Joseph during two seasons ago, he was eager to find his role on the team.
Two years later, he's one of the top dogs, the focal point for the Flyers offense and a big reason the team has high expectations in TAPPS District 3-4A play and beyond.
"I have expectations that I need to meet every game, but I'm going to work and bring my team where we need to get," Wenske said.
The 6-foot-1 forward averaged 16 points per game through the first five games of the season, but a lower back injury has caused him to miss the last few weeks, including games against Victoria East and West.
Wenske's scoring average is up five points from last year and is double what it was during that first season in 2010-11, when he was working to find his role.
Flyers' coach Abraham Garcia said Wenske's work ethic is a reason why his game has improved.
"He's a gym rat," the coach said. "It's kind of hard to get him out of this gym sometimes. Just his leadership and his varsity experience is a big part of what we have done and what we're planning on doing."
When he came into the program two years ago, Wenske was a long-range sniper who took advantage of shots when opposing defenses would collapse on former Flyers post Dean Vanek.
Although Wenske has hit a bit of a growth spurt that allows him to drive to the basket more consistently, he hasn't lost his touch on the outside.
"He's the presence on the outside so they all crash out on him," said junior post Cody Janak. "It's great because they can look inside for us. It's like a double threat."
Wenske, Janak and Garcia are a part of a group that changed the St. Joseph basketball outlook
The Flyers won only five games during the 2009-10 season, the year before Garcia became the head boys basketball coach and Wenske and Janak were in high school.
After making a playoff appearance in 2010-11, the Flyers won their first playoff game in nine years last season.
Garcia hopes to build on the program's yearly improvement with the current St. Joseph team that has eight juniors that arrived at the school the same year he did.
"You always have a special bond with the first group of kids you come in with," Garcia said.
St. Joseph was reclassified from TAPPS Class 5A to Class 4A this season, giving the Flyers a chance to compete with schools closer to their population.
Although the teams will be different, one lesson that Wenske learned form two previous years in the playoffs is that the playoffs bring more intensity.
"We know that whenever we get to the playoffs, we're going to be challenged like we've never been challenged before," Wenske said.