Bluebird boys’ quality depth bodes well for new season

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A balanced attack will help the Goessel Bluebirds as they try to follow up last year?s fourth-place finish in the state tournament with another solid season. ?Our scoring will be spread out and our five seniors will be counted on,? coach Justin Coup said The team?s seniors are: back row (from left), Seth Ott, Sam Lehrman, Nathan Ensz, Cameron Voth and Kurtis Duerksen. The Bluebirds also expect big contributions from junior lettermen: front row (from left) Travis Fensky, Austin Unruh, Kendall Voth and Craig Banman. Andrew Ottoson / Free Press

The Goessel High School boys? basketball team returns one starter from the squad that went 23-5, won the Heart of America league with a 10-1 record and placed fourth at the Class 1A state tournament a year ago.

Fortunately for the Bluebirds, the one coming back is a big one.

At 6 feet, 7 inches, center Nathan Ensz will anchor the middle of the Goessel defense for the second year in a row.

Ensz averaged more than 7 points, five rebounds and two blocks per game, and has continued to sharpen his skills.

But the Bluebirds will hardly be a one-man show. Coach Justin Coup will turn to seven letter-winners in a rotation that could go a dozen deep.

?A strength of ours is depth?we could have nine to 12 guys in our rotation,? he said. ?I look for many contributors this year as we should be a very deep team with many strengths.?

Goessel may also add to its depth mid-season as newcomers begin to prove themselves?if and when they do.

?That still remains to be seen,? Coup said.

Coup will have two strong options at the point guard position, with 5-8 junior Travis Fensky and 5-7 senior Kurtis Duerksen pushing each other for playing time.

?We must be able to handle the ball consistently against pressure,? Coup said. ?And we must protect the glass on the defensive end.?

The rest of the perimeter rotation will be filled out with a combination of 6-0 senior Seth Ott, 6-0 junior Craig Banman and 6-1 senior Cameron Voth.

A pair of juniors will rotate into the forward positions. Having Kendall Voth at 6-0 and Austin Unruh at 6-3 gives the Bluebirds some flexibility down low, as well as a measure of height not afforded to many teams in their classification.

In their league, Goessel will have to contend with strong challenges from Inman, Bennington, Sedgwick and Remington.

At the state level, Goessel is looking up at Centralia, South Gray, Sharon Springs and Hanover.

?After placing fourth last year, the team is hungry to taste that experience again,? Coup said. ?We will be looking to fill our roles and develop good team chemistry. We have a chance to accomplish many (team) goals, but how well we accept various (individual) roles will determine how far this team could go.?

The Bluebirds open their schedule at 6:30 p.m. Friday against Remington in Goessel.

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