Posted On: 12/14/18 5:38 PM
Beulah won the Region 7 crown in a Region 7 finals double-overtime classic last year. They were led by a strong senior class with five starters. Beulah head coach Jeremy Brandt said it was rewarding to see last year’s seniors make it to the state tournament.
“Everyone’s goal on our team was to make it to the state tournament and hopefully once we got there to have the opportunity to win it. As far as that goes, I was happy for our seniors. That group of kids put a lot of time in and they’d been close a couple years before as underclassmen,” Brandt said.
Last year’s region championship run was a bit of a surprise. Beulah lost a key starter to a football injury. Chad Morsette was hurt and missed his whole junior season. Now, he’s back and ready to rock after a strong summer basketball season.
Another key returner this year is Sean Gierke, a 6-0 senior guard. Gierke played a key role in the top 8 rotation last year. Brandt said Gierke put in a great off-season and got more athletic in the offseason.
“The thing with Sean is physically he hadn’t really gotten a growth spurt, then finally this summer he grew a little bit. He’s probably 6-foot, 6-foot-1 now. The other thing I’ve seen is he’s gotten a lot more athletic. He’s starting to mature and grow into himself,” Brandt said.
Another key senior who will be a contributor this year is Shaye Yeager, a 6-2 forward. Yeager is a hustler and will likely take over Aaron Vallejo’s role.
“He played sparingly last year then he got hurt. But he’s a great role player for us because he brings so much energy and plays so hard. Defensively he’s a pretty smart player. He does a good job on post kids. He can be physical, yet he’s athletic enough to where he can get around and front. He’s a good help defender as well,” Brandt said.
Beulah rotation will feature freshman and coach’s son Trey Brandt. Brandt played last year as an eighth-grader and is a solid shooter. Jonah Larson transferred over from Garrison and brings much-needed size to the team at 6-5, 270.
It’s hard to tell how Beulah rotation will shape out from their senior Joe Hager, junior Korey Rueb and senior Kaleb McGraw are likely to be the key reserves. Dawson Bieber is a senior guard who might see time as a defensive specialist but he got hurt.
Brandt said he’s not quite sure how this year’s team is going to play. They have a true center for the first time in Brandt’s stay at Beulah. They’ve had some tall guys who could shoot or athletic guys who could fill in at the center spot but they have never had a true big guy who was comfortable in the post.
“I’m not really sure, to be honest. We are going to be more of a work in progress. Offensively as the year goes on. We are going to try to do some of the stuff we’ve done in year’s past offensively,” Brandt said. “But if we are in a situation where we have to play Shaye and Jonah – a couple of bigger kids together, we may have to change a few things offensively.”
Brandt said the biggest challenge will be playing Yeager, a hustling 4, with Larson who is a true post presence.
“We’re not really a 4-out style when Jonah and Shaye are both in the game. That’s why we may be a work in progress to find somethings that are going to work for us.”
Brandt said his team will figure out works best for them as they year progresses.
“We’ll have to see what works and doesn’t in our first 10-12 games. Then as the year goes, narrow those things down to what we are going to be the best at and focus on those things,” Brandt said.