By Scott Bormann
Losing five key seniors from last year’s Vermillion boys’ varsity basketball team makes this season challenging for six-year coach Jay Drake.
Luckily, he has three experienced players to fill leadership rolls.
Nick Jensen (6’6” senior), Jayce Huska (6’0” senior) and Carter Andre (6’6” junior) will be relied on for leadership on and off the court as the season progresses.
“As in years past, we must find ways to defend and rebound to keep us competitive with the teams we will play on our schedule,” said Drake. “If we can do that, and take care of the ball offensively, we feel that we can improve and be competitive as the season goes on.”
Much will rely on how quickly the new players will be able to step up their levels of effort for the team’s success. They quicker that they can mesh, chemistry-wise, will determine how quickly they will contend with the teams in the Dakota XII Conference, Region 4A, and Class A schools across the state.
“Our athletes are excited for the season,” said Drake. “We will have some new faces, but our guys have done a nice job in the off-season of putting in some time in the gym.”
Several players will be competing for both the starting line-up and the rotation.
The conference and region should be competitive again this season. Madison is the defending state champions, and will have one of the better teams in Class A basketball this year.
Sioux Falls Christian has some very good players, and should be the team to beat in the conference. Dakota Valley and Canton should be the favorites in the region.
“We feel that the Dakota 12 Conference is the best Class A boys basketball conference in the state of South Dakota and will be very competitive from top to bottom,” said Drake. “Our goal as a team is to be able to compete within our conference and region by the end of the season when region tournaments roll around.”
The Tanagers start the season with a home opener against Lennox at 7:45 p.m. on Dec. 17. Please follow their exploits here on the Plain Talk sports page