HILDRETH — There’s going to be a lot of new faces on the court this season for the Wilcox-Hildreth boys basketball team. The Falcons lost four seniors to graduation from last year’s 12-8 team. Third-year head coach Matthew Nelson this year’s squad is going to have to step up and learn as the season progresses.
“We are coming off a season that we are losing four key seniors. We only return one starter and four players with varsity experience. We will be an inexperienced team and will have to rely on our leadership and teamwork to help through adversity,” Nelson said.
Jacob Wendell is the only player back from last season’s starting five. The 6-foot senior will play at the forward position. A trio of juniors earned valuable playing time last year, so they’re not completely knew to the varsity experience. Gavin Sheen, Triston Nicks and Trey Wenburg will be looked to as leaders, in addition to Wendell, to a young, inexperienced team.
Sheen and Nicks will handle the guard duties, standing at 5-9 and 5-8, respectively. And Wenburg is a 6-0 forward.
Despite the lack of substantial varsity playing time, Nelson is anxious to see how his team responds on the court.
“Our inexperience also brings us excitement to prove what kind of team we can be,” he said. “The kids worked hard this summer and our main focus is getting better every time we step on the court.”
Nelson is also expecting contributions from Jayden Bauer (a 5-8, guard), Skye Knaus (6-1, center) and Harvey Beck (5-10, guard). Knaus is a senior while Bauer and Beck are juniors.
In his three years with the Falcons, Nelson has amassed a record of 31-20 and earned one state qualifying berth.
Wilcox-Hildreth will start the season off with three consecutive road games. It’ll travel to Hi-Line on Thursday, Sumner-Eddyville-Miller on Friday, and Shelton on Dec. 12. The Falcons’ first home game will be Dec. 13 against Alma. Wilcox-Hildreth will compete in the Class D-2, Subdistrict 9 tournament at the end of the season, alongside Loomis, Southwest, and Sumner-Eddyville-Miller.
5, at Hi-Line; 6, at Sumner-Eddyville-Miller; 12, at Shelton; 13, Alma; 17, at Red Cloud; 19, Arapahoe; 21, Pleasanton; 27-28, at Harvard Holiday Tournament
7, at Bertrand; 10, Kenesaw; 11, Elm Creek; 17, at Loomis; 18, at Ansley-Litchfield; 24, at Axtell; 25, Amherst; 28, Silver Lake; 31, Franklin
1, at Fort Kearny Conference; 11, at Overton; 22, Harvard