• Last modified 939 days ago (Nov. 29, 2018)


Replacing seniors is challenge for Cougars

Staff writer

Members of the Centre boys’ basketball team will have big shoes to fill this year.

Last year’s team was Wheat State League champion, with a record of 8-1. The Cougars were pre-season champions at Herington, finished second in the Cougar Classic, and were sub-state runner-up. Their over-all record was 17-5.

With a roster of 15 players, replacing six 2018 graduates will be a challenge for coach Richard Idleman.

“Graduating six seniors is a lot in class 1A,” he said. “We will feel that early on. However, we have players who can and will step up, and as the season progresses, they will take on new roles in starting and playing.”

Senior Xavier Espinoza is the only returning starter. The 5-foot-11 guard led the team in rebounds last year, with 191. The coaching staff named him “teammate of the year.”

Juniors Dalton Stika, Jensen Riffel, and Aidan Svoboda, and sophomore Lane Methvin are returning letter winners. Junior Braxton Smith is a letter winner who hangs with the team but is out for the season because of a football injury.

“Even though he can’t play, he still is showing leadership,” Idleman said. “I appreciate that he’s there to support the team.”

Idleman said the returners had limited time on the floor last year.

“The nice thing is, this is a good group of young men who will work hard and give you everything they have, which we will need,” he said.

Stika is the biggest player on the team. He is 6 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds. He will play post. Riffel, 6 feet tall, will share the post position, and 5-foot-11 Methvin will rotate between post and guard. Svoboda, at 5-foot-11, will start as a guard.

Tanner Wiggans and Jacob Hird will round out the varsity. Wiggans, a 5-foot-10 senior, will play post, and Hird, a 5-4 junior, will be a guard.

Idleman said several players would serve as point guards.

Other players on the squad are sophomores Matthew Madron and Cameron Spohn, and freshmen Quinton Bina, Daylyn Kessler, Kyle Peterson, Mikey Silhan, Tanner Stuchlik, and Luke Hudson.

Idleman is assisted by Phil Duerksen. Senior Mickey Spohn is team manager.

The first game of the season will be at home Friday against 2A Bennington.

Last modified Nov. 29, 2018