STAFFORD — After a standout senior class graduated, Stafford High boys basketball coach Jason Deel must rebuild. The Trojans graduated a solid senior class keyed by leading scorer Derek McClure.
But at least Deel will feature a 6-6 transfer Nathaniel Kerschenske at center. Only two of seven seniors contributed last year and three are newcomers.
“We welcome back Nathaniel Kerschenske to the program,” Deel said. “He will provide a presence in the middle which is something that we have lacked in the past.”
Point guard Ramiro Arzola and sophomore Jake Foster have caught the coach’s eye.
“We will expect a lot from senior point guard Ramiro Arzola,” he said. “Jake Foster has been impressive in practice. He worked to improve his game and it sure is showing.”
Deel is trying to figure out Stafford’s offensive puzzle.
“The offensive end of the floor is still a mystery,” Deel said. “We will run plays to our post kids, which will be a little different. We will play more deliberate in the half-court and not be so dependent on conversion buckets.”
With the 6-6 Kerschenske, the Trojans will emphasize a zone defense.
“We will pack it in and keep teams out of the lane.” Deel said. “With the length that we have this year, we will be improved on the defensive end. We will try to make teams beat us by shooting low percentage shots.”
Deel said the team will take a while to play together effectively.
“We may take some lumps early in the year, but as these players get more familiar with each other we will show marked improvements,” Deel said. “Our biggest goals are to play mistake-free basketball and outwork other teams on the defensive end.”
Stafford competes in the Heart of the Plains League.
“Our league always has a couple teams that make it to the state tournament and this year is no different,” Deel said.
The Trojans will compete at the Burrton Class 1A Division I substate with Burrton, Chase, Hutchinson Central Christian, McPherson Elyria and Pawnee Heights.
“I expect it will be a really tough sub-state,” Deel said.
The Trojans’ lone state basketball appearance occurred in 1947 when they lost 43-38 to eventual Class A state runner-up Beloit.
Coach Jeff Lowther will attempt to build some momentum with behind senior Brooke McNickle. Other experienced team members are Allison Lowther, Sara Bordier and Erika Reynolds.
Head coach—Jason Deel
2013-14 record—10-11 (5-3)
Ramiro Arzola, PG, 5-8, jr.; Carter Cross, 6-1, sr.; Erik Herrera, 5-6, jr.; Riley Newell, 5-7, sr.; Logan Shocklee, 5-8, sr.; Eric Herrera, 5-7, sr.; Nathaniel Kerschenske, 6-6, C, sr.; Corey Wenrich, 5-8, sr.; Brett Bishop, 5-6, jr.; Bobby DeLeon, 5-6, jr.; Jacob Foster, 6-0, fr.; Michael Griffen, 6-0, fr.; D.J. Peak, 5-2, fr.; Josh Harter, 5-8, jr.; Coby Kerschenske, 6-0, jr.; D.J. Peak, 5-5, so.; Jake Foster, 6-1, so.; Cayden Brozek, 5-5, fr.; Caleb Hildebrand, 5-7, fr.; Nick Gift, 5-7, fr.
Head coach—Jeff Lowther
2014-15 record—0-19 (0-8)
Casey Cargill, 5-2, sr.; Brooke McNickle, 5-3, G, sr.; Allison Lowther, 5-3, G, jr.; Sara Bordier, 5-7, C, jr.; Nakita Foos, 5-2, jr.; Erika Reynolds, 5-6, F, so.; Morgan Sallabedra, 5-0, G, so.; Brooke Sallabedra, 5-7, fr.; Venessa Weston, 5-4, fr.; Katelyn Strobel, 5-3, fr.; Emma Strobel, 5-2, fr.
Dec. 8-12—at Skyline T-Bird Classic
Dec. 15—at Fairfield
Dec. 18_at Macksville
Jan. 5—at Otis-Bison
Jan. 8—at Norwich
Jan. 15—HUTCHINSON CENTRAL CHRISTIAN
Jan. 19-23—at Cunningham Boys 54 Classic
Jan. 25-30—at Berean Girls Tournament
Feb. 2—at Skyline
Feb. 5—SOUTH BARBER
Feb. 12—at Burrton
Feb. 16—at Cunningham
Feb. 23—at Pretty Prairie
Feb. 29-March 5—at Burrton 1A substate