The Magic boys basketball team will look to not just start early this year, but also start fast.
With boys beginning the season before girls this year, due to a state tournament scheduling conflict, the Monticello men opened their schedule Thursday at Orono.
Coming off three straight seasons of single digit victories, the Magic will be looking to make fast progress in the win column this year.
“[The boys] would love to be a .500 team this year,” said second year head coach, Jason Schmidt. “They know they’ll have to overachieve to do that.”
The Magic graduated a few key players from last year’s team, including top scorers Will Bauman and Hayden Laimer. But they return a solid core, as well as a group of kids who are familiar with each other.
Individually, three-year starter Brody Grantz, along with junior Tyler Frie, will be two of the top guys to watch. Michael Revenig, Erik Hammill and Matt Grathwohl will also be counted on heavily by the Magic.
But if Monticello is to find the success they’re looking for, Schmidt knows it will be because of teamwork.
“I feel like we’ve got great chemistry,” said Schmidt. “Our guys are on the same page.”
Along with being hard workers, the coach points to his seniors as another strength of this year’s team.
“We’ve got really great leadership,” he said. “Our seniors have really stepped up. If that continues throughout the year, we’re going to have more success than people expect.”
One thing the Magic will have to constantly combat is a lack of size. The Magic may not have a rotation player over six feet tall.
“Defensively, we have to prevent people from getting in the paint,” said Schmidt.
In part due to the lack of height and in part due to recent success, Monticello knows they’ll have to earn respect. But they plan to do just that.
“We’re not going to be the type of team that impresses you when we walk in the gym,” said Schmidt. “We want to be the type that impresses you when you walk out.”
Monticello played at Orono Intermediate School at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Contact Clay Sawatzke at email@example.com