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Posted On: 04/10/18 7:56 PM
This offseason PHD’s will preview all 108 Class B boys basketball teams in North Dakota. Hillsboro-Central Valley won the title this past season as they’ve now won back-to-back. These team previews will cover everything from what letter winners are coming back to who is trying to turn their program around headed into next year.
The Enderlin Eagles had a lot of unknowns coming into the 2017-18 season. The Region 1 team had no seniors on its roster, five juniors and six underclassmen.
Seventh-year head coach Calvin Kraft had his doubts but the Eagles finished the season 8-14 and lost to the eventual Region champions in Wyndmere/Lidgerwood 59-51 in the quarterfinal round.
“We had eighth graders starting, we had eighth graders playing off the bench, we had freshman playing a lot,” Kraft said.
“But we really improved faster than I thought we did and improved to getting to the region tournament for the fifth time in six years and I think we will only get better.”
Enderlin started this past year 1-3 and finished the regular season losing seven of their final nine contests. However, in those seven losses, four of them were decided by five points of less.
Kraft said his team has to work on being more consistent this offseason as there were times the Eagles would score 70 points one night and 50 points the next.
“It was an issue and you can blame that on being young but it’s also on us too,” Kraft said.
“I think consistency will be a lot better next year and it starts on the defensive end. I (also) think we will be able to score it so that combination should help us be more consistent.”
The Eagles scored 59.8 points per game last season and allowed 62.1 points per game in 22 games. However, Kraft’s crew brings back 11 letter winners and their top leading scorers.
Chance Bye will be back for his senior season and averaged a team-high 20.9 points per game last season and shot 41 percent from the floor and 86 percent from the charity stripe.
He also added 2.5 rebounds per game, 1.8 assists and 2.4 turnovers.
The 6-foot-0 guard is the Eagles go to shooter especially in pressure situations.
“When we needed a bucket he (Bye) was the one that took it,” Kraft said.
“I think more shots are going to go in (next season) because we are going to have a lot of close games and opportunities to win or loss based on a possession or two and with him coming back we have a good chance to win those (close) games.”
Enderlin will also welcome back freshman big man Joseph Hurlburt who averaged 12.8 points per game, 10.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocks.
Cameron Yantis and Austin Glarum will be two big parts to the Eagles success next season.
The two guards combined for 20.2 points per game in their junior and sophomore seasons as Yantis led the team in assists and steals with 54 and 25 on the year.
Glarum was one of the Eagles top three-point shooters and finished the season with a 39 percent clip from beyond the arc.
“We will have experience all the way across so that’s a good thing,” Kraft added about next season. “We have all the pieces right now hopefully we are better sooner then later.”
“I think if we come together next year and everyone is a little bit better and we finish games a little better then this year because we are older and experienced I think we are going to be in a really good situation and a position to be very successful.”
Kraft left his team with a one big message after the Eagles season ended in early March. He told them not to come back the same.
He wants his team to get better this offseason. Whether that’s working on limiting turnovers as the Eagles averaged 13.5 last season or getting bigger, faster and stronger in the weight room.
“I think our expectations we will be preseason top 5 in the region for sure I would assume,” Kraft said when asked about the Class B Preseason Poll. “But we aren’t going to be that with just showing up again and putting on the shoes and jersey’s.”
“Don’t be complacent and don’t think we are just going to start winning games because we are a year older … we have to come back better individually, and that’ll lead to more team success.”
Enderlin hasn’t been to the Class B State Tournament since 1996, however, they are only a few years removed from making it to the Region 1 title game.
Kraft believes his team is as skilled as any team in the Eagles region. He admitted his squad isn’t the fastest or strongest but said “basketball skill wise, I think we can compete with anybody as far as shooting ability and putting different people on the floor.”
“Expectations will be high, we will get better (this offseason) and do some team things, individuals will do some things, there’s a couple players playing on different AAU teams and we are just a year away from being in real contention I think.”