Three strong starters will anchor a Marion boys’ basketball squad that brings depth and experience to the court this season.
“We’ve got a lot of returners who have played a lot of minutes and they’re excited to be out here,” said coach Jeff McMillin.
“They want to have a special season.”
Leading the charge will be the dynamic duo of seniors Jordan Hett and Jacob Harper, who led the team in scoring last season and set the pace on both ends of the court.
“The all-around game is really what both of them have, and I expect them to get better,” McMillin said.
But, he added, what he’s really looking for is the desire and attitude they bring to the court.
“If that improves then we’ll be a lot better,” McMillin said. “And I think it has, from what I’ve seen so far from them. They’re pretty hungry to lead this team.”
The third returning starter is?Taylor Heidebrecht, who saw increased playing time for the Warriors last year and whose speed and quickness proved valuable.
Heidebrecht, who started at quarterback for the football team this fall, is coming off a broken collar-bone sustained late in the season. But he’s expected to make significant contributions for the Warriors this season.
“We look for a lot in the guys who are known quantities,” McMillin said, “but I think a lot of people will be surprised by the guys who maybe didn’t do a whole lot last year but have really developed.”
Chief among those players are Ethan Hett, James Jones and Zac Robson, all of whom have really worked hard to improve.
Transfer Morgan Wheeler is the primary newcomer to the squad.
“He went a year without playing basketball, but he’s starting to get back into it,” McMillin said. “He’s big, strong and is one of the first ones out there who really likes to play physical.”
McMillin said the Warriors have a deep bench this year, and he anticipates a challenge to provide playing time for all the athletes who deserve it.
On the other hand, the strongest aspect of the team is its depth.
“We have a lot of kids who can come in,” he said. “On any given night we have kids who can come off the bench and have a good game.”
With improvements in returning players and the addition of a valuable newcomer, McMillin hopes to overcome areas in which his team faltered last season—namely, rebounding.
“We really, really struggled to rebound and we really worked on it, and I think they have that mindset now,” McMillin said. “We may be a little outsized, but we’ll be an aggressive rebounding team.”
The Warriors don’t boast players in the 6-foot-6 or 6-foot-7 range, but they do have a numbr ofplayers around the 6-foot mark.
They’ll be competing with big, talented teams in a perennially strong Heart of America league this season, despite several HOA?leading teams losing key players to graduation. Berean Academy, Sedgwick and Moundridge are on that list.
“We have teams who have lost players, but have bounced back really quick,” McMillin said.
“Anybody who lost a lot of seniors, I expect to be really good. It’s a tough league and we want to try and be competitive in that league.”
The Warriors will open their season Nov. 30 at Southeast of Saline.