Basketball off to late start
You can’t blame new Blue Earth Area boys basketball coach Randy Kuechenmeister for not having a lot of comments about this year’s Buccaneer squad.
After all, at the time he was interviewed, the team had completed just two practices.
That, of course, is due to a delay in the start of the boys winter sports season at Blue Earth Area.
After Coach Kuechenmeister’s BEA football team went all the way to the Metrodome and claimed a State Championship on Saturday, Nov. 24, both the coach and the team needed a week break.
“Basketball practice was set to start on Monday, Nov. 19,” the coach notes. “We were still playing football then.”
So, practice started this past Monday, Dec. 3 two weeks later than every other school in the area.
The first three games of the season have already been postponed until 2013. Now the season opener for the Bucs will be a home tilt next Thursday, Dec. 13, when BEA hosts Waseca.
“We’ll be ready,” Kuchenmeister says. “We will have eight practices under our belt by that game.”
While Kuechenmeister is new to the team as the head coach replacing Gary Holmseth who retired after last season he certainly is not new to the BEA basketball program.
“I have been here at BEA for 27 years, and for 24 of those years I have been a basketball coach,” he says. “Just never the head coach before.”
Last season he was the B-squad coach.
“I think I know the guys pretty well from being the B-squad coach,” he adds.
The Buc mentor has 12 boys out for varsity this season, seven seniors and five juniors.
“We have some guys with a lot of varsity experience,” he says.
Returning starters on the team are seniors Isaac Darrington, Dallas Barslou and Brandyn Olsen.
Senior Steven Plocker and junior Luke Monson also saw a lot of playing time on the varsity as well.
Other seniors on the squad are Logan Jacobs, Brad More and Taylor Olson. Juniors include Colin Engesser, Quinn Huisman, Calvin Sanders and Alex Stewart.
“It’s hard to single out who is going to be playing all games, with only two practices under our belt,” Kuechenmeister says. “They are all working really hard.”
The coach admits the team is a bit of a work in progress at this stage.
“We have a goal to continue to improve all season,” he says. “It hard to tell just how good we will be.”
The Buccaneers will be facing some tough competition this season, according the coach.
“Our level of competition in this area is really good,” Kuechenmeister says. “Fairmont, St. Peter, Waseca, St. James, they will all have quality teams out on the court. Plus, starting out, they will have two more weeks of practice and games than we have. We are a little behind the eight ball.”
Still, the coach says that having the delay due to the football championship is actually a good thing.
“These guys are all pumped up from that and now are ready to play basketball as a team,” he explains. “Our goal is to keep improving all season long, and also to have some fun as well.”
Kuechenmeister says he took the head coach position because he wanted to help out the team.
“I didn’t plan on it at first,” he says. “But the opportunity came and I decided to do it. But it always is a bit different being the head coach as opposed to being an assistant.”
Kuechenmeister has Seth Anderson stepping in as B-squad coach this season. Zach Dahl, who was a middle school coach last year will be at the C-squad helm. Terry Barnes and Steve Sonnicksen are middle school coaches.
Plus, the team has Matt Schonrock as a volunteer assistant coach.
After the opener on Dec. 13, the Bucs will have two away games on Dec. 18 and Dec. 20.
Then on Dec. 27 and 28 the Buccaneers will be hosting a holiday tournament in the BEA gym.