Cougar boys return some height and two starters

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ANDREW OTTOSON
Centre coach Cody Schafer has the luxury of two senior forwards and a 6-foot, 3-inch sophomore to use down low. “Our obvious strength will be our post play inside,” Schafer said. Pictured are: back row (from left), sophomore James Webber and seniors Alfonse Klenda, Kevin Mueller and Lance Diepenbrock; front row: seniors Thieen Antoszyk and Thomas Terreault.</I

First-year Centre High School boys’ basketball coach Cody Schafer graduated from Tabor College in 2005.

Senior starters Dustin Burnett and Bryant Gutsch graduated from CHS in 2006.

But fortunately for the Centre coach, Schafer’s team brings back its three tallest players, two of whom started for the Cougars last year.

With both Alfonse Klenda and Kevin Mueller starting on the low block during 2006-07, Schafer’s team will have two 6-feet, 2-inch cornerstones to build on down low.

Klenda and Mueller both averaged 5 points per game during an 8-14 campaign last season.

“We are looking for both of them to step up their production significantly,” Schafer said.

Klenda averaged five rebounds and Mueller averaged six boards per game.

“Both have shown significant signs of improvement from last year already,” Schafer said.

Thieen Antoszyk, a 5-6 senior guard, is back along the Cougar perimeter, and 6-3 sophomore forward James Webber will add to the team’s inside strength.

“With three big men returning for us, our obvious strength will be post play,” Schafer said. “We also have some good perimeter quickness that will allow us to put a lot of pressure on the defense.”

After a year away from the program, senior Lance Diepenbrock is back in a Cougar uniform this winter.

Thomas Terreault, a transfer from Herington a year ago, is another player CHS has back in action again.

“We also have some players that have shown signs of vast improvement from last year,” Schafer said without naming names. “Hopefully we will be able to go deep onto the bench.”

While the returning players will carry the mantle of leadership that comes with seniority, Schafer expects the players on the roster to adopt a crisp, careful style.

“We will have to play smart and efficient, (especially) in the early part of the season to offset our inexperience,” Schafer said.

The CHS coach also thinks his team will pick things up quickly.

“With all of the practice time we will have put in, and after a couple of games, I think we will be just fine,” Schafer said.

Lacking one player decisively taller than the rest, Schafer is working with his squad on a team approach to rebounding.

“Most games we will be the smaller team when you look at us on paper, so all five on the floor will have to be determined to get rebounds,” Schafer said.

Last season ended with a second round post-season loss to Olpe, and the team’s 8-14 record included a 3-4 record in the Eisenhower League.

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