LAMOILLE – Stoked by their frosh-soph’s 16-6 finish of one year ago, the 2012-13 LaMoille/Ohio varsity Lions are poised to improve significantly on the results of recent basketball seasons past.
Last season ended with a 2-24 record, but L/O’s underclassmen challenged seriously for the Little Ten Conference frosh-soph tournament title. In that championship contest, the younger Lions roared out to a 21-2 lead in the first quarter, but ultimately fell to Serena by four points.
Fourth-year Lions’ head coach Brent Kalsto is looking forward to the hardwood campaign that lay directly ahead.
“We’re expecting big things. We have players,” said Kalsto. “They work hard. They hustle. They listen.
“The Little Ten’s tough. It’s tough. We’re going to still take some hits. We’re going to lose some games. But it’s going to be a lot more competitive basketball, which we’re looking forward to.
“In the past, teams see us on the schedule and it’s foreign exchange student night, you know, everyone scores. I don’t think that’s going to be the case this year. Are we going to win 20 games? Probably not this year, but … consistency is what we’re trying to get.”
L/O’s projected starting five this season will feature four juniors and a sophomore.
Anthony Lovgren, Preston Powers, Julian Gonzalez and Brandon Morris are the juniors, while Jeffry DeLong is the varsity-only sophomore
Kalsto said Morris will play a key role.
“He’s our workhorse. I mean, and I tell the boys, I don’t mean that in a bad way, like it’s Brandon Morris and you other four (boys). No, everything starts with Brandon. When he’s on, he’s pretty hard to stop as anyone in our conference. It’ll take teams to stop him, not single players,” Kalsto said.
Garrett Geuther, the only returning senior, will serve as the Lions’ very important sixth man, first off the bench, and described by Kalsto as “our energy guy.”
Rounding out the varsity roster are first-year senior and first-year varsity player Wesley Rogers, sophomores Luke Becker and Tracer Mills, as well as freshmen Alan Stamberger, Josh Gross, Derek Debruhl and Jacob Tudor.
“It’s Hinckley’s to lose,” Kalsto said about the Little Ten Conference race. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Hinckley was rated 1 or 2 in the state. They’ve got everyone back from a team that blew everyone out in the Little Ten by 20 (points).”
“Obviously, more wins,” said Kalsto, when asked about his team’s goals for the season. “Our goals are to be a lot more competitive, and make people kind of more proud of being from LaMoille (and Ohio).
“We don’t want that feeling of always being looked at as this easy W, and we’re not happy about it. We want (to win) as many games as we can, obviously. Any team does.
“But we have a window. We believe we have a window of the next two years. This year, I think we’ll surprise people, but we’ll still take our lumps, which is fine. We’re young. We’re growing. And that’s what we’re going to do.”
LaMoille/Ohio will, again, play a pair of home games in Ohio Dec. 18 against Annawan and on Jan. 8 versus DePue.