Questions linger for Cardinal boys squad
One phrase reverberated throughout a conversation with boys basketball coach Kyle Deterding. "We're gonna get after it."
After finishing 11-10 a year ago and losing several key players, the Cardinals coach hopes his squad can make up for a lack of experience with effort.
For the second consecutive season, Deterding will face the task of replacing every starter from last year's lineup.
The team returns five seniors. One of them, Brian White, will be out for most of the year with an ACL injury. Also the leading scorer from last year's squad, Kelson Boyer, transferred, so that leaves quite a void as far as scoring goes.
"We had some kids that could score a little bit last year so we hung around some teams," Deterding said. "Offensively (this year) it's going to take us awhile to get going, get used to playing with each other.
"On defense, hopefully nobody outworks us."
Deterding said the other seniors -- Morgan Abel, Aaron Shockley, Dylan Rust and D.J. Fritzel -- have done a great job in the first couple weeks of practice working hard and showing the younger guys how to get after it.
"This year we don't have a whole lot of talent but we have a lot of young guys," Abel said. "We're looking to just come out and really play hard and battle with some really good teams."
Deterding expects the league to be tough this year. Gardner usually has a good team. Ottawa returns almost everyone from a solid squad last year, and he said Louisburg will be one of the best teams in Class 4A.
Practice at this point involves a lot of competition. Twelve or 13 players are currently competing for playing time at the varsity level. Deterding singled out sophomore Justin Ballock as a younger kid who will need to play some minutes at the varsity level.
Junior Cody Carlson is another player who has stepped into a leadership role in the early going.
"There's a lot of things that we can't control as a team," Deterding said. "Whoever showed up this week to practice, that's what we've got to go with. Our goal is just to be the best team we can be at the end of February and hopefully play into March."
Playing into March would mean winning sub-state, something the Cardinals haven't been able to do since the mid-1990s. But there seems to be no better way to go about doing that than to try and outwork all of your opponents, getting better every day beginning on day one.
That seems like exactly what coach Deterding has in mind.
Eudora opens its season with the Eudora High School Invitational Tournament Dec. 3.