GAYVILLE — There is a stark contrast between the two basketball teams at Gayville-Volin this year.While the boys' team isn't returning a single starter this year, but the girls team has its leading scorer, rebounder and assists back from last year.But both teams will be building depth regardless.The Raider boys are coming off an 8-13 season, but lost all five starters and only have one senior, Jace Bennett, who has played all four years for Gayville-Volin.In all, the team has four seniors and six juniors, but fifth-year head coach Patrick Beeman said the team still lacks experienced players."We have a lot of juniors who haven't played a lot varsity, and there are four seniors and three haven't played since they were freshmen," he said. "We have two kids with varsity experience, so we are hoping to learn some valuable experience as the year goes on."Beeman will be leaning on the two varsity players from last year, junior Kyle Kocmick and freshman Jack Huether.Kocmick is the top scorer who returns from last year after putting up 12.3 points per game."Quite a bit will of the leadership will fall to Kyle this year," Beeman said.Huether saw significant time as an eighth-grader last year and averaged five points a game for the Raiders.Beeman said he has already seen a difference in Huether from last year to this year."He got quite a taste of it last year as an eighth-grader," he said. "He had a full year of varsity football as well, and he now knows there is a jump in competition. He knows how to rely on his teammates and that his teammates rely on him."Beeman added that Bennett worked hard in the off-season and improved a lot as well.When looking at his rotation, Beeman knows some of the young players on his roster will see time since he plans on giving significant minutes to another eighth-grader this year, Alec Barta.Beeman said he is basically just looking for his young team to grow as the season goes along."We would like to gain valuable experience as the year goes on and play our best basketball at the end of the year," he said. "We would like to climb over .500 and see what kind of momentum we can build."Despite how young Gayville-Volin is this year, Beeman thinks the team could still be competitive in District 8, which includes Irene-Wakonda, Centerville and Alcester-Hudson."We will see all of the teams throughout the year, so we will see how we can get better against them," he said. "Whether we win or lose, we can use those games for late in the year. All three are competitive teams, that's for sure."The Raiders' season tips off on Friday at Baltic."It's a hard working group, a very coach-able group and a fun group to be around," Beeman said. "Hopefully we will continue to get better as the year goes on."Even though the Raiderettes finished just 2-20 last year, the team gained quality experience under third-year head coach Justin Karstens, who will be joined by first-year assistant coach and former Mount Marty College basketball player Trey Krier.The Raiderettes return their top scorer, senior Taylor Anderson, the leading rebounder junior Stacy Hirsch and junior Natalie Harkness led the team in assists. The team even gets back its other senior Brittney Ziegler, who was injured for most of last season.Unfortunately, Ziegler is injured again and will miss the next couple of weeks, according to Karstens. Junior Maggie Bertrand will take her place and is a first-year starter for the team.Although the Raiderettes have a starting core returning, Karstens is hoping to see more of a killer instinct out of the group this year."More scoring is what we will need; they kind of all deferred to each other instead of one of them being the scorer last year," he said.However, even with all the experience returning, the Raiderettes bench will be inexperienced."Our bench will consist of freshmen, two eighth-graders and a seventh-grader," Karstens said. "We will need them to step up and have quality contributions at the varsity level for us to be successful."But it was the inexperience and lack of a one person taking charge of the scoring that cost Gayville-Volin its season-opening game in Menno on Tuesday as the Raiderettes lost to the Lady Wolves 55-33.Karstens said his team had about 30 turnovers in the game."We easily had 30 turnovers, and that was our biggest problem," he said. "The freshmen got their feet wet, and they were going about 900 miles per hour. The turnovers got us, but they played well.""Last night, no one stepped up as the one scorer, so hopefully one of them will develop that mindset and be that girl," Karstens added.The Raiderettes next game will be Friday at Baltic.
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