The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on November 29, 1981 · Page 63
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 63

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 29, 1981
Page 63
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Sunday, November 29,1981 The Salina Journal Page B-1J Knights to charge in MCL race By ROD LAKE Sports Writer When the finals of the state basketball tournaments were being played last year, the Mid-Continent League was represented by two teams. Stockton went on to defeat Garden Plain in the Class 2A finals while Ellis was edged by Silver Lake in overtime in the Class 3A division. But a lot of things have changed since then. Gone are the Tigers' two all-area performers, Matt Miller and Tim Talbert, and Ellis coach Tom Bowen Jumped ship to coach the Colby Eagles, while standout Chris Honas is now at Fort Hays State. «'• time for a new king in the MCL. The Victoria Knights were a solid choice by the coaches to become the new MCL powerhouse. The Knights were fourth last year with a 5-1 record but coach Larry Thurlow thinks his team will improve on that mark. "The Victoria boys should put together the finest season in more than a decade," Thurlow said. The reason for such optimism is the return of four starters along with two other lettermen. The Knights' inside game will be led by 6-2 Rod Goetz and 6-3 Jeff Miller, both forwards. Goetz was an all-league performer last season, averaging 15 points a game. The 168-pound senior has led the Knights in scoring in each of the last two seasons. Miller, a junior, returns after scoring 11 points a game and pulling down eight rebounds per contest. Those two players will get support from returning starters Lou Robben (64, center) and Curt Pfa- nenstiel (5-8, guard). Other returning lettermen include Stuart Dome (5-7, guard) and Mark Robben (6-0, forward). As solid as the Knights seem, they will be challenged by several teams in the always tough MCL. Norton gets the most votes for the team likely to upset Victoria. First-year coach Don Bechard will try t to improve the Blue Jays' 1-8 conference 'mark and 6-14 overall record. Bechard will have plenty of tall players to work with. The former Pike Valley coach will be greeted by seven lettermen and three returning starters. Five of those players are over 6-3. "We've got some fine shooters and our size should help us on the boards," Bechard said. "If we're going to be successful we'll have to work hard on remaining consistent and keeping our turnovers to a minimum." The Blue Jays will build their squad around three returning starters: John Bullock, a 6-4 senior swingman; Clark Cox, a 6-1 senior guard, and Scott Wiltfong, a 6-4 junior forward-center. Bullock tossed in 11 points a game last season while Wiltfong averaged almost 12 per contest over his last seven outings. Adding depth are Bob Neff, a 6-1 forward, plus a pair of 6-3 junior forwards, Kelly Barnard and Todd Bowman. Although Stockton was the coaches' choice for third, the Tigers will have just one letterman returning in Mike Miller, the younger brother of Matt. Third-year coach Jim Brickell must find replace- \ Mid-Continent ments for the top seven players on last season's state championship team. "Mike is more of an inside player while Matt was an outside player," Brickell said. "Mike is an excellent shooter and ball handler." Along with Miller, the Tigers will return Bob Hamilton, who Brickell called one of the best rebounders in the league, and Allen Kee. Brickell said he plans to move Kee to forward if the Stockton guard game improves. "Our guard play is our biggest question mark right now," Brickell said. "If we lean at a team how to get the ball inside we will be fairly successful. But if we play an outside game we will be lucky to win." Kelly Yoxall, who played center as a freshman, will probably also be shifted to the backcourt to add much needed help at the guard position. At WaKeeney, fourth-year coach Brad Griffith will have four lettermen, including two starters back. Starters Kevin Zeigler and Todd Lynd should lead the Golden Eagles. Ziegler is a 6-0 forward-center while the 5-9 Lynd will play guard. Smith Center coach Dick Cotton was greeted with good news and bad news. The good news was that three returning starters are back. The bad news, however, was that starting point guard Tony Schnautz moved to Oklahoma. "We have a good nucleus to build around so we're planning on having a winning season," said Cotton whose team finished 9-9 last year. Returning starters Dan Devlin, Kevin Peyser and Brent Cotton should make things a little more pleasant. Devlin, a 62 guard, led the team in both field goal shooting (48.7 percent) and scoring last year (10.4). The 64 junior Cotton had a team-leading 149 rebounds along with 44 assists, while Poyser, who was second on the team in both rebounds (129) and scoring (9.0), should give the Redmen a solid front line. 4 return at Hill City At Hill City, four starters return for coach Keith Riley's team. The Ring- necks, who finished 7-11 overall and 4-4 in MCL play last season, will need to improve their offense if they expect to better those marks. Seniors Brad Reynolds, Frank Logback and David Sprenkel plus junior Brett Yelton return after gaining a valuable year of starting experience. Logback is a two-year letterman who Riley said is an outstanding rebounder and offensive player. Yelton and Sprenkel will add extra offensive firepower while Reynolds should do most of the ball handling with back up help from Gary Sieger. "Our biggest weakness is our rebounding," said Riley whose tallest player is 6- foot. "In order for us to be successful we'll have to have outstanding team play and hope we can improve our offense." Plainville coach Bob Martin will have just one letterman back from a 16-5 team that finished third in the league. "We have a number of question marks that need to be answered before we know if we will be a very good team," Martin said. Steve Dreher, who became a starter midway through the season, led the Cardinals in scoring with a 15-point per game average to earn honorable mention all-league honors. "We're not going to be real big but we should have decent overall height with a couple of kids going 6-2," Martin said. "They're not real physical kids so in order for us to be successful we will have to rely more on finesse than power." At Phillipsburg, the Panthers could sneak up on the league favorites. Although the Panthers finished with a 4-5 league mark to place sixth, coach Thane Nonamaker's team will have four starters returning along with three other lettermen. Marty Woodard is the top prospect. The 6-1 forward scored 10 points a game last season and pulled down five rebounds per contest. Senior Chris Oestreich, along with juniors Jeff Stoumbaugh and Ron Storz, are also back after seeing starting action a year ago. The Osborne Bulldogs will be a young team but will have one of the league's top players returning in Ron Sturgeon, a 6-4, 205-pound Junior center. Sturgeon averaged 22 points and 15 rebounds during the last half of the season. Sturgeon was almost a one-man team last season as the Bulldogs finished with a 1-15 overall mark and 0-9 conference record. "Coining off a 1-15 season we feel we can only look up," coach Larry Andersen said. The Bulldogs should improve with Sturgeon and 6-3, 205-pound center Gary Jensen plus several talented sophomores. Sophs Dusty Trail and Kip Boland and senior Brian Hollway will fight for the starting guard positions. Scott Bliss, another sophomore, is expected to start at a forward spot. NIKE basketball shoes are the pick of the pros. They come with super flexible, long-wearing soles for- quicker cuts and stops. Padded heel collars and arch supports. And high and low tops, reinforced at stress points. So when you want to play like a pro, do what the pros do: jump into NIKE. Available in the following styles... •Leather Blazer Hi-Tops 'Canvas Blazer Hi-Tops •Low Top Leather Bruin *Low Top Canvas Bruin •Low Top Dynasty "Hi-Top Dynasty •Leather Legend Men's Shoe Sizes 6^-13 122 S. Santa Fe Salina Hours: Monday 9:00-8:30 Tues.-Sat. 9:00-5:30 823-2146

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