Experience Brings High Expectations for Eagles
Southern Door coach Derik Hawkey is in a position in which all coaches would love to be. The Eagles return four all-conference players from last year’s team that finished 20-5 overall and 16-0 in the Packerland Conference. The Eagles also won their first regional title in nearly 20 years last season.
“I will look to those four for leadership, scoring and everything else in between,” Hawkey said.
Reigning conference player of the year Kyle Daoust returns after scoring 21.7 points, grabbing 7.2 rebounds and dishing out 3.1 assists per game last season. Derik LeCaptain (12.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 5 apg), Ryan Claflin (11 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Max Pierre (5 ppg, 4.7 rpg) round out the list of proven returning contributors.
Hawkey said senior Joe Delveaux, sophomores Alex Daoust, Nick Baudhuin and Marcus Marchant and freshman Logan Jeanquart will be counted on to provide the Eagles with much needed depth.
“[The key to success] is our overall depth, especially off of the bench,” Hawkey said. “How deep we can make it in the playoffs and how we perform in big conference game will undoubtedly come down to our role players, as the returning starters are very proven.
“After going 16-0 in conference and winning our fourth conference title in a row, expectations are at an all-time high,” Hawkey added. “To match and exceed those feats will be difficult, but we are looking forward to a tougher non-conference schedule as well as hopefully furthering our tournament playoff run.”
Sevastopol Hopes Offseason Work Pays Off
The Pioneers return six players who combined to average more than 40 points in last year’s 4-19 season.
“Although the roster is more experienced than previous years, we do lack the size in the paint,” coach Andy Symons said. “It’s definitely going to be a team effort when it comes to controlling the paint.”
Robby Pollman is the top returning scorer, coming off a season in which he averaged 12.1 points per game. Brent Haberli (8.8 ppg), Johnny Jorns (6.0 ppg), Eddie Garcia (5.3 ppg), Josh Pflieger (4.4 ppg) and Vidal Rosales (3.7 ppg) round out the top returning scorers.
Garcia averaged 5.8 rebounds per game last year and Haberli led the Pioneers with 4.1 assists an outing. Sevastopol’s top newcomers are Arthur Hocevar, Logan Beyer, Evan Lardinois and Cole Dvorak.
“We are looking to push the tempo on offense and cause havoc on the defensive end,” Symons said. “But most importantly we need to show consistency knocking down shots. The kids put a lot of time in the off-season and that hard work should pay off during the season. We are looking to improve each day and play hard and play team basketball.”
Clippers Bring Back Height, Scorers
Coach Jim Benesh wasted few words when asked about his perspective on this season.
“We should be competitive,” said Benesh, whose team finished 14-10 overall and in the Packerland Conference last season. “I am looking to have a good year.”
Carson Talbert, a 6-foot-7 senior forward, returns after scoring 13.9 points per outing last year. Not far behind is 6-foot-3 guard Mitchell Jackson who averaged 12.6 points. Benesh also will count on returning guard Jake Schneider.
Size will not be an issue for the Clippers. Top newcomers Jake Schmelzer, Calvin Meachem, Max Bordeau and Trent Ehlers all stand taller than 6-foot-3. Benesh says the Clippers will also count on Gunnar Tebon, Andrew Carbajal and Dylan Burke to contribute.
Benesh said that developing depth and improving rebounding will be the keys to the Clippers’ success.
Vikings Hoping to Turn Corner in Close Games
Anyone would be hard pressed to find solace in a 5-18 season, but fourth-year coach Justin Burress could present a compelling case. Burress said the Vikings were at full strength for only four games last season due to various reasons.
“Last year we lost quite a few close games,” Burress said. “It was frustrating for all.”
This season that frustration should diminish for the Vikings, who return five seniors who were in the starting lineup last season. Trevor Reinhardt and Evan Henry each scored 8.0 points a game last year and are the top returning scorers. Ryan Murphy added 7.9 points per contest, and Ryan Kropuenske and Andras Szakala chipped in 7.1 and 6.9 points, respectively.
Henry was the Vikings’ top rebounder with 5.4 per game and Kropuenske was close behind at 5.0.
Burress said his team showed renewed vigor over the summer and won nine games in summer tournaments.
“We hit the reset button this summer and many of the upperclassmen were actively trying to improve,” Burress said. “We have added some new things that have the guys excited and pretty confident going into the season.”