Archive for Thursday, December 1, 2005

2005-06 area boys basketball preview

December 1, 2005

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Baldwin

Head coach: Heath Cooper (2nd year, 7-14)

2004-05 record: 7-14 overall, 3-9 Frontier League

2004-05 postseason: Lost to Louisburg in Class 4A sub-state quarterfinals

Key players: Jeremy Wright, 5-10, Sr., G; Aaron Hannon, 5-9, Sr., G; Ryan Jorgensen, 6-2, Sr., F; Blake Weiden, 5-10, Jr., G

Outlook: The Bulldogs expect to climb into the upper echelon of the Frontier League this winter by virtue of an experienced lineup that returns the bulk of its offensive leaders from last season. Wright - a first-team all-league performer - and Hannon each averaged 13 points per game last winter, and with Weiden, form arguably the top guard trio in the league.

Eudora

Head coach: Kyle Deterding (2nd season, 7-14)

2004-05 record: 7-14 overall, 4-8 Frontier League

2004-05 postseason: Lost to Anderson County in Class 4A sub-state quarterfinals

Key players: Mark Abel, 5-8, Sr., G; Rodney Spillman, 6-0, Sr., F; Luke Abel, 5-7, Sr., G; Guy Montgomery, 6-2, Sr., F

Outlook: With most of their experience in the backcourt, the Cardinals will put a small-ball lineup on the floor this season and stress defense during Deterding's second year at the helm. Mark Abel is the lone returning scorer who averaged double digits last season at 12 ppg.

McLouth

Head coach: Chad Brown (4th season, 16-47)

2004-05 record: 2-19 overall, 1-9 Delaware Valley League

2004-05 postseason: Lost to Osage City in Class 3A sub-state quarterfinals

Key players: Jimmy Steffey, 6-0, Sr., G; Kevin Stewart, 5-11, Sr., G; Rickie Kelley, 5-8, Sr., G; Andrew Booth, 6-2, Jr., G

Outlook: Much like the McLouth football program, the Bulldogs hope this will be their breakout year on the hardwood. Brown is in his fourth season at the helm, making this the first group of seniors to avoid a coaching change in more than a decade. All five starters and nine letterwinners overall return from last season.

Mill Valley

Head coach: Justin Bogart (6th season, 71-37)

2004-05 record: 15-6 overall, 10-3 Kaw Valley League

2004-05 postseason: Lost to Topeka Seaman in Class 5A sub-state semifinals

Key players: Jack Johnson, 5-10, Sr., G; Kyle DeBerg, 6-5, Sr., F; Ryan Gracy, 6-1, Sr., G; Alex Meddaugh, 6-0, Sr., G; Connor Koch, 6-0, Jr., G

Outlook: Bogart expects a strong returning core to allow his squad to challenge for the Kaw Valley League title. The Jaguars return proven scorers both on the perimeter and in the paint, with Johnson and DeBerg each averaging 10 ppg last winter.

Oskaloosa

Head coach: Tracy Kutscher (1st season)

2004-05 record: 7-14 overall, 4-6 Delaware Valley League

2004-05 postseason: Lost to Maranatha in Class 3A sub-state quarterfinals

Key players: Joe Crawford, 6-2, Sr., G; Cody Heston, 6-5, Sr., F; Brock McGinnis, 6-0, Soph., G

Outlook: Kutscher takes over a team loaded with seniors, and others in the state have taken notice, as the Bears are slotted at No. 9 in the Kansas Basketball Coaches Assn. Class 3A preseason rankings. Both Crawford (16 ppg) and Heston (11 ppg) averaged double digits last winter.

Ottawa

Head coach: David Grover (14th season, 172-120)

2004-05 record: 10-12, 6-6 Frontier League

2004-05 postseason: Lost to McPherson in Class 5A sub-state final

Key players: Victor Ojeleye, 6-5, Jr., F; Addison Miller, 6-1, Sr., G; Matt Leecy, 5-11, Sr., G

Outlook: For the first time in a decade, the Cyclones will take the floor without a player who has state tournament experience. However, Ottawa will count on 10 players who saw some varsity action last season, including eight who scored in double figures at least once.

Perry-Lecompton

Head coach: Jeff Dickson (1st season)

2004-05 record: 7-14 overall, 2-11 Kaw Valley League

2004-05 postseason: Lost to Topeka Hayden in Class 4A sub-state quarterfinals

Key players: Chris Ketter, 6-3, Sr., F; Cory McPherson, 5-10, Sr., G; Gabe Gantz, 6-6, Sr., F

Outlook: Dickson takes over a program that hasn't experienced much success in recent years, with just one winning season in the last 17 campaigns. However, the Kaws do return some experienced performers from last season, all of whom developed a taste for success this fall while leading Perry-Lecompton to the Class 4A state football playoffs.

Santa Fe Trail

Head coach: Jason Schaffer (3rd season, 13-31)

2004-05 record: 10-13 overall, 5-8 Kaw Valley League

2004-05 postseason: Lost to Topeka Hayden in Class 4A sub-state finals

Key players: Jake Carter, 6-9, Sr., C; Shawn Conklin, 5-11, Sr., G; Curtis Musgrave, 5-10, Sr., F; Brian Shively, 5-11, Sr., G

Outlook: After falling one game short of the Class 4A state tournament, the Chargers figure to be in the postseason mix again this winter after losing just one senior to graduation. The focal point is Carter, a Washburn University signee who averaged 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds last season.

Tonganoxie

Head coach: David Walker (5th season, 32-54)

2004-05 record: 6-15 overall, 3-10 Kaw Valley League

2004-05 postseason: Lost to Bonner Springs in Class 4A sub-state quarterfinals

Key players: Zack Pistora, 6-1, Sr., G; Tyler Miles, 6-3, Jr., F; Jeff Hughes, 6-1, Jr., F

Outlook: The Chieftains will have to overcome a lack of height and a lack of experience to climb out of the bottom half of the Kaw Valley League this season. Tonganoxie's strength will be in the backcourt and on the wing, where it can count on its more seasoned athletes.

Wellsville

Head coach: Dirk Over (2nd season, 5-18)

2004-05 record: 5-18 overall, 1-11 Frontier League

2004-05 postseason: Lost to Minneapolis in first round of Class 3A state tournament

Key players: Kyle Wright, 6-4, Sr, F; Austin Bloss, 6-1, Sr., G; Kyle Rush, 5-8, Sr., G; Scott Samsel, 6-0, Jr., G; Craig Moore, 6-5, Jr., C

Outlook: The Eagles caught fire at the right time last winter, rebounding from a tough regular season to reach the Class 3A state tournament. Over expects better things in December and January this year thanks to a returning cast of five seniors and the addition of Wright, who was home-schooled prior to this year.

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