The Killdeer boys basketball team is looking to surprise people this season. Pictured are, front row, from left: Daylon Danks, Kacen Gartner, Colby Dukart, Orion Bowen; second row, Zach Oakleaf, Alex Sadowsky, Anthony Holding Eagle, Dawson Schmeling: third row, Tony Kluver, Ryan Zastoupil, Pat Williams, Zane Pittsley, Rope Smith. Not pictured, Hoyt Zander, Ty Truchan, Garrett LeMieux, Riley Reiss, Kadin Nodland, Gabe Mayer, Mason Bice, Dillan Jepson, Ryan Walker.
Killdeer boys head basketball coach Andy Murphy describes his squad as “an under-the-radar” the radar type of team this year.
DUNN COUNTY HERALD
Last year the Cowboys posted an 8-15 record, but many of those losses were nip-and-tuck type of games that didn’t go Killdeer’s way.
That was a team that didn’t have much depth, meaning a lot of the returning players got extensive playing time a season ago.
“The coaches and players are excited. We feel we have a lot to prove this year,” said Murphy.
Killdeer has four returning starters and six letter men from last year, including big men Alex Sadowsky (6-foot-5 forward) and Garrett LeMieux (6-4 guard/forward). Both are juniors and three-year starters with solid numbers.
Sadowsky averaged 13.1 points per game last year with 8.2 rebounds and dished out 50 assists and posted 30 steals.
LeMieux was good for 9.6 points per game, six rebounds, 35 assists, 30 steals and 19 blocks.
“They played a lot of minutes last year,” said Murphy. “They were forced to grow up quickly last season and both responded very well. We will be leaning on them to use their experience and help mentor the younger players.”
Senior Hoyt Zander will direct the Cowboys offense as the point guard. He has good quickness and had moments of great play, Murphy said. He averaged nearly four points a game, 1.7 rebounds and dished out 22 assists.
Additionally, the Cowboys will have senior Ty Truchan, a 6-0 force inside. He averaged 2.5 point and 1.3 rebounds.
“Ty began to understand his role last season,” said Murphy. “He is a smart player that limits his mistakes when on the floor.”
Dawson Schmeling should also provide some inside presence, Murphy said. The 6-2 Schmelling didn’t play last season because of the shoulder injury.
Senior Colby Dukart and sophomore Ryan Zastoupil are the other letter men the Cowboys have back.
Murphy said senior Anthony Holding Eagle will be a factor as well.
“This team has a great attitude and will not settle for average,” said Murphy. “With the region always competitive, we know we need to show up every night. We have the potential to beat any team on our schedule, but in order to do that, we need to believe in ourselves and get better every day.”
The Cowboys’ season opener against New Town was rescheduled to Dec. 20. It was changed because many of the players did not have the state-mandated nine practices before the first game.
The adverse weather conditions forced school officials to declare snow days last week and this week.
The game with New Town will start at 3:15 p.m. with the “C” game, followed by the junior varsity at 4:30 and varsity at 6:15 p.m.
The Cowboys will now open the season on Tuesday at the Roughrider tournament at Dickinson Trinity.
Regardless, Murphy said his boys are ready for the challenge.
They have a little size on the block, some decent quickness for an controlled up-tempo approach, and the desire to win.
That’s a good combination as far as Murphy is concerned.