Boys basketball returns with a lot of play time
Similar to years past, the Blue Earth Area boys varsity basketball team is, once again, off to a late start.
That said, the players are not complaining, as the delay is due to the State Class AAA Football Tournament quarterfinals that were held Nov. 8 in Burnsville.
“We always kind of expect that we’ll have a late start, but we want to make sure the athletes get at least a week-long break between seasons,” said head coach Seth Anderson.
Full practice began Nov. 17, a week later than scheduled, and in the process, the first two games have been rescheduled.
“We’ve been practicing for two weeks, but not as a full team,”?says Anderson. “We just wouldn’t have been ready to play next Tuesday, but by the 2nd we’ll have nine practices under our belt.”
Last winter, the Buccaneers closed the regular season by defeating the Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Knights, 65-55, in the first round of the Section 3AA?Tournament.
The Buccaneers advanced to the second round where they competed against the No. 1-seeded Fairmont Cardinals. In a nailbiter that ended in a loss, the Bucs finished out the season 11-14.
This season, Anderson is confident that the new and returning athletes will lead the Bucs to victory in this year’s Section Tournament.
“Obviously we have high expectations for our players,” Anderson says. “But we just hope to make it back to win the conference title.”
The Bucs lost three seniors to graduation last year: Luke Monson who scored 24 points and 11 rebounds in the final game Calvin Sanders and Quinn?Huisman.
This year, the team is composed of six seniors Derek Johnson, Conor Barnett, Kyle Engesser, Nick Shure, Mathew Bell and Kellen Jacobs and only four juniors Tyler Hannaman, Bailey Olson, Brandon Olson and Alan Davids.
Varsity athletes Derek Johnson, Conor Barnett and Bailey Olson each collected quite a bit of playing time last season and there is no doubt that they will see a lot more of the court again this year.
“We have some decent experience coming back from last year’s team that played really well down the stretch last year,” Anderson says. “Our guard play and decision making should be much improved since last year.”
Although there will be plenty of returning talent, some of the athletes, like Kellen Jacobs and Mathew Bell, have started the season with an injury.
“The main thing we are battling right now are all of the injuries we have suffered so far,” Anderson says. “Figuring out who we can rely on to play and compete at 100 percent without fear of hurting themselves has been our main problem.”
Unlike last year, the Buccaneers will now be competing in the Big South Conference rather than the South Central Conference.
That said, the boys basketball team will face many of the same opponents that the school has battled for years.
According to Anderson, the best teams in the conference are Fairmont and Waseca, but Jackson County Central is also inching its way to the top, making them the “favorite” opponent in the BSC sub-section.
“The best games of the year are always the big Fairmont games,” Anderson explains. “The natural and historic rivalry between our two teams will always make things exciting.”
Competition against schools from neighboring towns will always be the name of the game, but Anderson hopes that the boys varsity basketball players will have some fun, too.
“I’m here to guide these boys and have a successful season, while having some fun along the way,”?said Anderson in a past interview.