Posted On: 12/8/18 12:45 PM
Killdeer went 13-11 last season and head coach Andy Murphy was happy with the outcome of the season. He said there were some ‘What if’ games but overall it was a good year.
“I thought last year went good. We had a lot of ‘what if’ moments. Like against Beulah and Hettinger-Scranton we lost by 3 or 5 in both of them,” Murphy said.
Killdeer will have a tough task getting back over .500 this year. They will have to replace four seniors from last year’s team including 1,000-point scorer Alex Sadowsky, and defensive stalwarts 6-5 Garrett LeMieux and 6-4 Dawson Schmelling.
Losing scoring and length will make Killdeer an inexperienced team with less overall size and athleticism this year.
“This year your athleticism and length aren’t going to get you by. It’s not gonna just get you through things. It’s the little things that matter now. It’s where you put your arms, how you position your feet. It’s where you’re supposed to stand. If you’re standing two feet off the right spot,” Murphy said.
“This year is more of an attention to details kind of year because the little things will matter and they do matter. We have to focus on them.”
Killdeer will have two returners coming back to build their offense around. Junior guard Dylon Danks is a 5-10 shooter with a nice outside touch. Last year he averaged 7 ppg as a sophomore. Now, he is going to be asked to do more.
Killdeer is also expecting big things from 6-foot junior Jaime Keller. Keller put up double-digit numbers last year on the JV averaging 11 ppg. Murphy thinks Danks and Keller will have strong seasons for Killdeer.
“This year Keller and Danks are going to have some big years. They are going to be our two main scorers. I think they are going to be solid contributors,” Murphy said.
Another junior who Murphy likes to have a strong season is Kadin Nodland. Murphy said Nodland is the team’s best athlete this winter.
“He’s improved a lot from last year. He’s not specifically a basketball player. He’s just an athlete out there. He’s probably the best athlete on our team. I think he’s going to turn some heads this year. I think he’s got the potential to have an awesome season this year,” Murphy said.
Killdeer will have another solid athlete in Kacen Gartner. Gartner is a senior guard who brings quickness and athleticism to the team. Some of Killdeer’s younger players may find themselves in the varsity rotation this year.
“We are a young team right now, so we are going to have a lot of underclassmen get a lot of playing time,” Murphy said.
Sophomore Kostner Benz-Weber, freshman Keith Dukart, and freshman Tyler Hazen might find their way into the rotation this year.
Killdeer’s biggest team strength is their team quickness. Murphy said their quickness will allow them to stay in man-to-man and run a dribble-drive offense.
“We’ve got team quickness, so I think we want to do a lot of dribble-driving stuff,” Murphy said. “We’ve got some spot-up shooters but I think our team strength is our quickness. We have a few kids that can get by the defender and get to the rim if they need to. I think we need to utilize that the most we can,” Murphy said.