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Fans may not know many players on the court for the Lewis & Clark-Berthold varsity boys basketball team right now.
“We have a lot of new faces this year,” said head coach Brock Teets. “I think we had the biggest turnover in the state as far as our varsity roster goes.”
Coming off a season that saw the Bombers finish second at the Class B state tournament, with 10 seniors graduating from the team, Teets is looking ahead to a new team.
He likes what he sees so far, especially regarding the Bombers’ height. “We’re well-sized overall, with three or four kids coming in at that 6’2”-6’3” range,” he said. “Then we have someone at 6’4”. That should help us in defense and with rebounding.”
He also appreciates the number of players, with 23 quality boys on the roster and the majority of whom are sophomores and freshmen. “I know I sound like a broken record every year, but on the varsity we have 12 great kids,” he said, describing the squad as hard-working athletes who focused on their classes as well as basketball. “And I’m impressed by the sophomore and freshmen group that really pushes the juniors and seniors on the team. The younger kids don’t back down from a challenge. They’re tough kids. I couldn’t be happier as far as competition in practice goes.”
The Bombers return Taylor Langan, as the only senior this season, and junior Daniel Yale, who is the only starter back on the roster. Teets acknowledged that the team would lean on Yale for a while. “We’re asking quite a bit of him, to have him play all five positions at times,” Teets said. “For the first part of the season we’re going to rely heavily on Dan to get into our offensive and defensive situations.”
He noted that 17 of his 23 players were members of the freshmen and sophomore classes. “That gives us some nice depth,” he said. “I’m not afraid to play nine or ten kids in a night, and we’re going to need that.”
Teets acknowledged that the 2010-2011 Bombers need to work together to build their new team. “For us, that starts with defense,” he said. “We have a long way to go defensively, and we have a lot of kids we’re asking to play different positions, so they’re trying new things. Once we get that figured out, the other things will fall into place.”
And while the Bombers were clearly a powerhouse team last season, Teets considers the district to be more balanced this year, with the exception of Minot Bishop Ryan. “There’s no question they’re the team to beat in this district,” he said. “They returned everybody except for one senior, and they show a mixture of size and athleticism. You have to look at Ryan as the number one team in the district, but after that there’s quite a bit of balance.”
As the Bombers work their way into the District 12 tournament, they’ll be building a new team together. “They feel a lot of pressure,” he said. “Berthold has been successful, and they feel the pressure that they’re supposed to be good.”
According to Teets, his players seemed nervous before their first game against Velva, played November 30th. “It will take time to get better [as a team],” he said. “I told them in the locker room, ‘This is a completely different team. This is our team, so let’s build from here. Let’s make our own history.”
Two wins start the season
The new Bombers team has opened with a pair of wins over Velva and Stanley.
L&C-Berthold hosted Velva on November 30th and pulled out a 67-64 victory in double overtime, much to the relief of the fans.
The Bombers posted a 13-5 margin after the first quarter, then took a 37-26 lead by halftime after a shooting spree by both teams. The Aggies shaved the lead to 44-36 in the third quarter, then crept back into contention by tying the game at 60 when the fourth quarter buzzer sounded.
Both teams scored 5 points in the first overtime period, but the Bombers had a 12-8 advantage over the Aggies in the second overtime for the win.
L&C-Berthold saw a balanced scoring effort, with Daniel Yale scoring 16 points, Adam Birdsall 15, Alex Bloms 12, Taylor Langan 8, Jaeden Jenson 6, Tyler Fjeldahl 6 and Logan Gunderson 4.
Ty Bruner led Velva’s scoring with 26 points, while John Mack added 17.
On Friday night, the hometown crowd watched the Bombers top
Taylor Langan had 15 points in the game, while Yale also scored in double digits with 13. Alex Bloms added 7 points, Adam Birdsall 2, Brandin Langan 2 and Mitchel White 1.
The lone senior flying for the Bombers this season is Taylor Langan.
Juniors suiting up in purple and gold include Colin Lindahl, Adam Birdsall, Daniel Yale, Brandin Langan, Alex Bloms, Corbin Dahle and Matt Block.
Sophomores moving up the Bombers’ ranks are Cale Neshem, Jaeden Jenson, Dalton Njos, Tyler Fjeldahl, Logan Gunderson, Brady Axness, Bryce Lynne, Austin Brown and Casey Peisar.
Freshmen testing their wings on the Lewis & Clark-Berthold squad include Mitchel White, Ryan Ross, Adam Knudsvig, Stetson Carico, Wyatt Nichols and Wyatt Limke.
Coach Teets is assisted by Shane Gunderson and Chris Brown, a former Bombers player who has returned to the team in a coaching role.
At the bench, Christa Myers and Sierra Young are keeping team stats for the season.
With two wins on their record so far, the Bombers will compete in the Velva Invitational Tournament, beginning December 9th.
The rest of the season schedule includes:
Dec. 13, at Drake-Anamoose
Dec. 20, Garrison at Berthold
Jan. 3, Tioga at Berthold
Jan. 6, at Bishop Ryan
Jan. 11, Glenburn at Berthold
Jan. 14, at Our Redeemer’s
Jan. 15, Beulah at the
Jan 17, Ray at Berthold
Jan. 20, at DLB
Jan. 25, MLS at Berthold
Jan. 28, Kenmare at Berthold
Jan. 29, Mandaree at the
Jan. 31, at
Feb. 7, at Turtle Lake-Mercer
District 12 tournament action will be played February 10, 11 and 12 at the Minot Auditorium, followed by regionals February 21, 22 and 24.
The Class B boys state basketball tournament is scheduled for March 3, 4 and 5 at the Minot State University Dome.
Even with two wins on their record, Teets hopes the team’s devoted fans will show patience and support as the season gets rolling. “We’re going to play a lot of kids, and they’re going to work hard,” he said, “and by the end of the season, we’re going to be leaps and bounds better than we are right now.”