Jr. boys in for year of rebuilding

Dan Falloon

After a dominating past few years for the Muskie junior boys’ basketball team, the squad is entering this season with question marks as it rebuilds.
The black-and-gold is coming off another NorWOSSA championship, having dominated Dryden 71-34 in last year’s final.
But with the Grade 10 leadership of that team having moved up to the senior ranks, the junior squad is looking at getting together a strong springboard for championships in years to come.
“The team’s looking good,” said head coach Greg Ste. Croix.
“We’re a young team. It’s a little younger than I thought it was going to be,” he admitted.
“We’re going to have to pay a lot of attention to fundamentals,” he stressed.
Brandon Sinclair, Harley Mainville, and Gavin Moorhouse are among the six older players no longer eligible for the junior team.
Meanwhile, Will Anderson and Caleb McIntosh, who both were big contributors as rookies, have moved on to the senior team and are expected to log significant minutes at the higher level.
The Muskies scrimmaged against International Falls on Monday night, with Ste. Croix saying he noticed a vast improvement in the team’s basic skills—passing, shooting and rebounding—as the evening progressed.
Ste. Croix hopes to see further development this weekend when the black-and-gold hosts its home tournament Friday and Saturday.
“Just fundamentals,” he said in terms of what the team was hoping to work on.
“And growing together as a team.”
It’s too early in the rebuilding process to pinpoint which new players could have an impact in the coming season. However, a handful of returnees from last year’s squad will be expected to figure in leadership roles.
“All returning players are definitely going to have to step up,” stressed Ste. Croix, citing Colton Craig as one player in particular who he’s anticipating to have a big sophomore year.
“He’s going to be expected to take on a leadership role.
“Aric Chapman and Adam Egan are two other guys who are going to have to show up for every game,” Ste. Croix added.
The team will play its first NorWOSSA game here against Dryden on Dec. 14 before visiting Kenora on Dec. 16.
League play then will resume after the Christmas break on Jan. 6.