Mitchell Christian boys open tonight on roadDefense will take center stage for the Mitchell Christian boys’ basketball team this season.
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
Defense will take center stage for the Mitchell Christian boys’ basketball team this season.
The Eagles, who finished 5-17 last season, look to make a run at the state tournament this season with strong team defense.
“Defense is an extra point of emphasis for our team this year,” second-year MCHS head coach Dennis Martin said.
Martin has been with the program for five seasons. He took over for current Mitchell High School boys’ basketball coach Tom Young last season after Young resigned to watch his daughter play her senior season with thee South Dakota State University women’s basketball team.
Martin said the Eagles were relatively inexperienced last season, but this year MCHS will start three seniors and two juniors.
“We had a lot of underclassmen playing last season,” Martin said. “This year, we are going to start all upperclassmen, and while they haven’t played together a lot, they have been gelling pretty well in practice.”
The Eagles’ backcourt consists of senior guards Jackson Feiner and Keegan Larson-Shields and junior guard/forward Aaron Lemon. The MCHS front court will be anchored by junior forward/center Wes VanderPol and senior forward Adam Rasmussen.
“I am just looking forward to starting the season,” said Rasmussen, who will start on varsity for the first time this season but still hopes to bring senior leadership. “In the summer months, you always look forward to playing, and I am ready to get out there and see what our team can do. As a senior, I will do my part to keep the team together.”
The Eagles will rely on Rasmussen and VanderPol to provide good help-side defense to go along with good perimeter defense from its trio of guards.
“Defense definitely shows your work ethic, and it’s 50 percent of the game,” Rasmussen said.
The tough defense that MCHS hopes to play could also turn into points if they are able to force their opponents to commit turnovers. Scoring more points and playing more up-tempo basketball is also something that Martin said he would like his team to focus on.
“We want to pick up the tempo and run a little more if possible,” Martin said. “Last year we held teams to 55 points unfortunately we only scored 45 points.”
The Eagles will take on Iroquois at 8 p.m. today.
“If we are going to be successful, I think we have to play our best and not give up a lot of turnovers,” Larson-Shields said.