After finishing the season at 23-2 last year and taking second at state, the high school boys varsity team is looking forward to the rest of the season after already winning their first two games against Clay Center, 68-49, and Abilene, 62-51.
Head coach Jim Johnston, along with the rest of the team, have great expectations for this year.
“We have had an okay season so far,” Johnston said. “We were not quite as prepared for the first game as we were the second game, but we had major improvements in doing all the little things right in the second game, missing practices over Thanksgiving break did not help any, but we are improving for later down the road.”
The team has had some key contributors already, including seniors Carson Becker, Isaiah Dobbins, Jared Garcia, Caleb Rogge and Bailey Vetter and juniors Avery Ebert and Cooper Schlochtermeier. Each have contributed in their own ways and know what their roles are, with Becker leading both games in scoring with 16 points against Clay Center and 21 against Abilene. Becker also leads in rebounding with 11 rebounds against Clay Center and eight against Abilene.
“My role right now is to make sure that the ball gets to the posts,” Schlochtermeier, who had four assists against Clay Center and five against Abilene, said. “I have to make sure the ball gets up the court, it is put in the right place at the right time and make sure we give the ball to Carson, Jared or whoever else is in at the post.”
Even the bench knows what their contribution is.
“I am what you call the sixth-man,” Dobbins said. “I come in off the bench and help out with whatever it is I need to do.”
Dobbins came in third in scoring for the Mustangs against Clay Center with 12 points and scored two against Abilene. Even with these key contributions, each player knows what they need to improve on.
“Rebounding. It is the one thing that I am not doing great at,” Vetter said. “I need to work on rebounding more so I can continue to look for better opportunities to score.”
With knowing what they need to work on, they hope to improve these skills for what is ahead.
“Our plan to is to go back to state,” Dobbins said. “We are working for the one goal we set as a team at the beginning of the year, and we hope to do it by winning state this year.”
The team seems to know what their opportunity is, as they are always aware of what they have to do as the season progresses.
“I tell the boys every day at practice that they need to get better,” Johnston said. “They are already ahead of last year offensively, but we need to work on defense. As long as we keep improving defensively and keep doing the little things right, it will be a fun year for this group. We are going to go places. They know what lies ahead, and they know they need to take care of business.”
Article by Brandon Mallon
Photo by Olivia Lee, yearbook photo editor