Batavia senior Nathan Tague comes from a long time of basketball-playing brothers, with his older brothers Andrew and Ryan having already gone through the Bulldogs program. Tague, a senior guard and lifelong Batavia resident, is the first of the brothers, though, to play for new Bulldogs coach Jim Nazos. In this week’s Weekend Chit-chat with Chronicle sports editor Jay Schwab, Tague touches on the program’s new coach, the Bulldogs’ prospects at next week’s IHSA Class 4A Batavia Regional and more. The following is an edited transcript:
Do you feel like the season has flown by, dragged or somewhere in between?
I’d probably say somewhere in between. There was a stretch of games where things were actually going pretty good that seemed like it flew a lot more but sometimes when we go on those losing streaks, it seems more like a drag. I’d say a little bit of both.
What have you guys been working on in practices to work through some of these scoring struggles you guys have had lately?
Well, the coaches really have [stressed] getting up and down more in fast break situations. Sometimes we get so focused on our half-court sets … we’ve been playing a lot of competitive, going up and down plays instead of just focusing on our half-court sets.
How do you define your role with this team? What do you perceive your job to be?
Obviously I’m a backup point guard so if our starter, Mike Rueffer, is in foul trouble or having trouble or just needs a breather, I’ll come in and try to pick up the energy, try to be spark off the bench and not turn the ball over. I probably play a little faster than Mike, maybe a little less under control, but faster. It really helps when we get run and jumped on with backcourt traps, so sometimes if Mike is struggling to beat them I’ll come in and see if I can do something different to try to pick the speed of the game up.
How long did it take you guys to get comfortable with a new coach this year?
Not too long, actually. We did some stuff over the summer to [get to know him] and everything. We were pretty comfortable with him right off the bat but the new offense maybe took a little longer to get down at the start of the season, but I think now we’re used to it. We even had morning practices … we were trying to spend more time, maybe more time than we would have if we were used to that offense. It was a lot thrown at us, so we were trying to get it all down.
What’s the team’s mindset about regionals next week?
Well, obviously our goal is to win. We’re just going to take it one game at a time. We’ve got Plainfield East [on Monday] and then we know we’d have to play [top seeded] Oswego in the second round but the goal is always to win regionals and move on to sectionals.
Is it hard not to gulp a little bit, though, when you see a team like Oswego in that bracket?
Yeah, kind of. They are pretty intimidating but we’re solid defensively. I have faith in our defense that maybe we can upset a team like Oswego because we can rely on our defense so much. If shots start falling and we start playing, I think we can beat anyone.
What are you going to do with yourself this spring once basketball is over?
I don’t know. … Maybe catch up on some homework and just relax for the first few weeks, but I’m not going to totally back off the game. Probably play open gyms. I don’t know, it’s going to be a weird feeling, though.