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Boys ready to play up-tempo game

By Staff | Dec 1, 2019

The BEA boys basketball team begins play on Friday, Dec. 6, with a home game against Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial. Members of the team are pictured above, front row left to right: Will Howard, Gavin Storbeck, Caelan Sanders, Austin Thielfoldt, Braden Gudahl, Keegan O’Brien, Jacob Olson. Back row: Jack Barke, Grant Strukel, Nick Lopez, Zach Herrmann, Cameron Anderson, Xavier Morrow, and Sam Keister.

Last year’s Blue Earth Area boys basketball team finished the year with 12 wins and 13 losses. This year they hope to record more wins than losses for the first time since 2009.

“We came close to achieving a .500 record last year,” head coach Colby Swanson says. “But we did reach the sub-section finals, which had been another goal for the team last year.”

Swanson, who begins his fifth year at the helm of the boys basketball team, is anxious to see his squad take the next step this year.

“We have four starters back in Caelan Sanders, Grant Strukel, Austin Thielfoldt and Cameron Anderson,” Swanson notes. “In addition, we have guys who played a lot of minutes on varsity last year.”

Joining the four returning starters on the varsity team this year are senior Xavier Morrow, juniors Braden Gudahl, Will Howard, Sam Keister, Keegan O’Brien, Gavin Storbeck and sophomore Zach Herrmann.

“I have seen a great deal of improvement in a number of players,” Swanson comments. “Some guys put in the time to get stronger and become better players.”

Those who watched the team play last year witnessed a squad which liked to get out and run the ball and take advantage of their athleticism and quickness.

“This year will be no different,” Swanson remarks. “We will play a lot of guys and we want to play at a fast pace.”

Swanson says he and the team have not talked about win-loss goals this year.

“We want to play our best and maximize our potential,” Swanson states. “If we do, we can have a winning season. We want to get better at every practice and get better at every game.”

The Section 2AA south sub-section has a new look this year. Gone are the defending Section 2AA champion St. Peter Saints. However, last year’s Class AAA State runner-up Waseca has dropped down a class and joins the Section 2AA south sub-section along with Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton.

The other returning members of the south sub-section are Kenyon-Wanamingo, New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva, Maple River, Medford and Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial.

“There is no doubt Waseca is the favorite to win the sub-section and section,” Swanson comments.

When it comes to the East Division of the Big South Conference, St. Peter and Fairmont, in addition to Waseca, look to have the best teams, according to Swanson.

BEA was to have opened their season by hosting the United South Central Rebels on Dec. 2, but that game has been rescheduled for Jan. 20 of next year.

Instead the boys will open the season by hosting Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial on Dec. 6. The Bucs travel to Trimont to take on Martin County West on Dec. 10.

Next, they take part in the Big South Conference Showcase by playing Redwood Valley on Dec. 14, in Fairmont.

They do not meet up with their I-90 rival, the Fairmont Cardinals, until Jan. 18, when the Cards come to Blue Earth to take on the Bucs.

BEA will travel to Fairmont on Feb. 7 for the return match.

“We have a lot of speed, we shoot the ball well, we have some athleticism and we are unselfish, we share the ball,” Swanson says. “So I am excited for the games to start and see what these young men can do.”