PREVIEW: Sebeka Boys Basketball
By Mike Isola/Beyond the Bleachers – Reprinted with permission
Sebeka, Minn. (November 17)— It’s doubtful there’s anyone in the Park Region Conference more anxious for the season to get started than coach Jon Lillquist and his Sebeka Trojans. It had been a tumultuous past couple of seasons for the boys in purple in gold and as difficult as the situation might be, there is a silver lining to the current cloud hanging over Lillquist and his team.
The Trojans return the bulk of players from a tough season last winter which saw the team end the season with 17 straight losses. Sebeka also went winless in the tough Park Region Conference, going 0-12 and ended up finishing 2-24 overall during the 2013-14 campaign.
However, with 16 players returning and competing for playing time, the Trojans hinge their hopes on experience for a much improved season when they tip off against Osakis at home Friday, November 21.
“We gained a great deal of experience last season and we hope to build on that experience right away. Our players are very motivated to go out and have a great season and we’re all looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish,” said Lillquist. “We had very good chemistry this summer and we look to improve on the work these boys put in during the off-season.”
Leading the charge for the Trojans will be 6-foot-8 senior forward Matthew Lillquist, who averaged 12 points per game last season. Junior Thane Dailey (8 ppg) and freshman point guard James Clark (7 ppg) return some scoring punch as well for the Trojans, who received an additional boost this summer when Tucker Ament transferred back from Colorado.
Ament, along with the rest of the senior players Sterling Crabb, Jeffery Erickson, Alex Schwartz and Casey Richter will be competing for playing time. Sophomore players Caleb Puttonen, Colt Hansen, George Lausten, Wyatt Meech, Kaleb Putzke and Cameron Graba will have chances to contribute on varsity. Other freshmen players on the Trojans squad include William Hannu, Jack Lillquist, Ryan Oakland and Aaron Braith.
For the Trojans, the most frustrating aspect of the offseason for the players on the current roster may be removing whatever bitter taste that still lingers from the 2013-14 season. Although questions still remain about the Trojans untested frontcourt, all the elements are there for this to be a special season. Especially if Lillquist can piece together a solid starting five—and the former Class A Coach of the Year is capable of doing so—even if it takes time to adjust. No matter what, expectations are always high. This time, though, Sebeka will end up surprising a lot of teams—including themselves.
(Copyright 2014 Beyond the Bleachers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)