The Goessel High School boys? basketball team upset Thunder Ridge and took fourth place in the Class 1A state tournament in March. In May, the Bluebirds graduated a handful of the players who paved the way to the state tournament berth with a 21-7 overall record.
Although coach Justin Coup (167-81 in 12 years at Goessel) enjoyed the success, he is not one to dwell on the past when there?s work to be done.
?We have many seniors who have waited for this to be their year,? he said. ?They have had another successful year in cross-country and football, and look to continue it this winter.?
Among those seniors are returning starters Weston Hiebert and Aaron Reimer, who will give Goessel the element of size required to compete in the Heart of America league.
Hiebert, a 6-foot, 2-inch forward and center, averaged 5.1 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, and made over half his field goal attempts.
?He is our physical leader,? Coup said. ?He is strong in the post and will take charges, and leads the team in steals and hard nose defense.?
Reimer, a 6-4 center, averaged 5.2 points and 4.9 rebounds and is ?a defensive presence who can move people in the paint,? according to Coup.
Four other seniors lettered: Isaac Fast, Chad Wedel, Hayden Goerzen and Bryant Miller. So did juniors Corey Buller and Neal Brubaker. Brubaker will take over the starting point guard position, with Fast, Wedel, Goerzen and Buller poised to contribute along the perimeter. Buller and Miller will provide depth on the low block.
Coup noted that 5-11 sophomore Braden Unruh is one of his top newcomers, but also said ?many juniors and sophomores are going to battle for spots.?
?Many spots will be up for grabs as our guard-forward positions will be a heated battle in the preseason,? Coup said. ?This team will steadily improve, and will be a different team by the end of the year.?
Goessel also faces a potentially tough adjustment period as they move up to Class 2A.
?It will need to happen early as we prepare for tough HOA league competition,? Coup said.
Coup lists Berean Academy, Sedgwick, Peabody-Burns and Hutch Trinity ahead of his Bluebirds?at least for now.
Goessel will open with a visit to Northern Heights on Friday, then will host its home tournament starting Tuesday.