Author: Elise Wilhelm, Sports Editor, Xchange
Winter sports are just getting into full swing and one team in particular got a little extra attention this fall before the season even started.
The varsity boys basketball team was ranked #1 in Class B this preseason by the Omaha World Herald. The boys earned this title last year with all the huge strides the program made in Class A.
However, the boys agree that the ranking that truly matters most is the one that comes out after the season.
“Preseason number one honestly doesn’t mean much,” senior Charlie Easley said. “I mean it’s good to have people respect us, but at the end of the day nobody has proven anything until the games start happening and we know that we will have to work to prove ourselves every game.”
When it comes to practice, head coach Brian Spicka shared that nothing changes the game plan for this year. The team is hoping to build off last year’s success and continue to improve each and every day.
The team is focused on achieving their collective goals, as well as each player striving to achieve his own.
“My personal goal is to contribute to the team as best as I can and to lead my team and help the younger players develop their game,” senior Austin Jablonski stated.
Jablonski’s goal is especially important as one of the biggest obstacles the team will have to overcome this year is attempting to replace their two seniors who are out on injury. Seniors Joe Dworak and Nick Staab both tore their ACLs this fall during football season. Dworak was a starter last year and ended the season with lots of points in the district and state tournaments.
“One of our biggest challenges we will face this season is going to be replacing departed seniors and finding how each player fits and executes their role on the team,” Spicka said.
Along with replacing the departed seniors, the team will also have to overcome a tough schedule this season. The team is classified as Class B this year; however, their regular season schedule is primarily Class A matchups. This can help the boys with wildcard points if they play to their highest capability.
Spicka explained that if the team plays mentally and physically tough enough to grind through the tough times, they will come out ahead and prepared for the state tournament.
One thing that will really help the team is their chemistry together.
“I think our team chemistry this year will be really good because everybody likes each other and we all bond together really well,” Easley shared. “It helps that everyone knows we are all here to win and get better. Even with the tough loss of Joe and Nick they are still part of the team and are a huge part of the chemistry aspect.”
The Bolts are currently 3-1 with wins over Millard West, Millard South and Lincoln Southeast and a tough loss to Lincoln East. The season continues this Friday when the boys take on Lincoln North Star and then Saturday against Lincoln Northeast.