Season Preview: Boys Basketball

Coming off a perfect season, the boys basketball team looks to continue its success.

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Season Preview: Boys Basketball

Liz Kuhlmann, Sports Editor

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The basketball bouncing from hand to hand, senior Clayton Custer scans the court for options. Noticing movement out of the corner of his eye, Custer fires a pass toward the basket, hitting fellow senior Kyle Harrison coming off a screen for a layup. This teamwork does not come without years of practicing together, and Custer said part of the reason the boys basketball team was so successful last year was due to the team camaraderie. The team finished their 2012-2013 season with a 25-0 record, an EKL conference title, and a state championship under their belts.

“I think our hard work in the off season and our hard work leading up to the season was the biggest reason for our success,” Custer said. “We all are like family, so when we’re on the court we know where the others are going to be and we pick each other up.”

Head coach Ed Fritz returns all of his starters from last season for this year, and explains he has a team of very highly skilled and unselfish players. While he feels some pressure to continue last year’s success, Fritz said the program has a much more difficult schedule than last year and will be playing more nationally ranked teams than in previous seasons.

“It will be a big test for us,” Fritz said. “We need to develop some depth in our bench, and I’m anxious to see if we have that. Our rebounding needs to be better, and I’m worried about our fouls on the defensive end.”

Not only does the team return all five starters, but also four of those have signed to play basketball collegiately: Clayton Custer (Iowa State University), Ben Richardson (Loyola University), Vince Fritz (Sacred Heart University) and David Salach (Washburn University).

“It was really good to get it done,” Custer said. “ Obviously I’d known where I wanted to go for awhile, I never really wavered on it. But if felt really good to finally sign. It was cool for all of us to do that together. Obviously, Kyle could have if he wanted to. I think it was awesome for [Fritz], it was awesome to have four of his players up there at the same time. Hopefully it will inspire our younger kids to get up there too.”

Fritz said signing four members of his team means their hard work is paying off. It is hard to get an athletic scholarship, Fritz said, and he is proud of their effort over the past four years.

“They did a nice job [throughout their careers] for us,” Fritz said.

According to Custer, this year’s team celebrates a lot of good shooters as well as an aggressive defense that creates turnovers. The team shares three goals this year, Custer said: win the EKL for the fourth year in a row, win sub-state, and win state.

“I have some personal goals I want to accomplish this season,” Custer said. “But I know that if we win all our games, all my personal goals will come true. Ever since we started playing here we’ve felt like we are supposed to be good and win every game. So I think we know that we can win every game if we do what we are supposed to do.”

Spending time with his teammates off the court is what Custer said he is most looking forward to this season. Whether it is team dinners or going to get food after a random practice, Custer said spending time after practice together creates a special bond. Having played with his fellow seasons throughout much of his childhood, Custer said he believes he will be unable to find a team like this year’s team anywhere else.

“There will never be a team that I like playing with more than this one I don’t think,” Custer said. “We know each other so well. No matter where you go play and who you’re playing with, it’s hard to find the bond we have. I think this is going to be one of my favorite years ever playing basketball. I’m just going to cherish it and enjoy the time I spend with the guys.”

The team’s first game will be tonight at Bishop Miege at 7:45pm.