Top scorer back for boys
The Tonganoxie boys basketball team will lose 44 percent of its scoring punch when Neil Rieger, Scott Aligo and Brett Becker graduate in May.
When Mike Webb, Tonganoxie boys basketball coach, looks ahead to next season, however, he's optimistic that the team will improve despite the graduations.
The Chieftains finished 10-11, losing to eventual state champion Sumner during the sub-state tournament.
The season-opening win against Baldwin says a lot about Tonganoxie, Webb said. Baldwin finished third at the 4A state basketball tournament last week.
"It shows us that we have the ability," Webb said.
The team started slow but had a five-game winning streak that included a second-place finish in the Tonganoxie Invitational.
Webb was coaching in Tonganoxie for the first time this season. He said the team should be more familiar with his system, and he should be more familiar with the players next season.
"It's going to be very competitive next year," Webb said.
He told the players at the end of this season that they would have to compete for their varsity spots again next winter.
Scott Breuer, Kyle Rodell and Bryan Gurss all started and logged significant minutes for the Chieftains this year.
Breuer led the team in scoring at 12.1 points a game and was a second-team all-league pick.
"He proved against Sumner that he's got an outside jump shot," Webb said.
Rodell hit 40 percent of his three point shots. Webb said Rodell will continue to play point guard and be expected to shoot more often.
"He hit some really key shots for us this year," Webb said.
Gurss was an inside presence early in the season although his production trailed off as the season progressed.
"I think Bryan is going to continue to develop and to get better in the post position," Webb said.
Matt Needham also should compete for a job, entering his senior season. Webb said Needham's defense was excellent when he was in the game.
Thomas Gilner played in all 21 games for the Chieftains this season. He and Scott Jewell, who played in 17 varsity games, will be expected to help in the post position.
Greg Burnett and Dustin Smoots could get playing time at the one and two guard positions.
"Dustin's a good ball handler," Webb said.
Jordan Glenn, who only got into four games, has potential to grow into a position if he can get stronger, Webb said.
David Walker, assistant basketball coach, will be working with the basketball players in the weight room during the summer. The coaches will also have a week long basketball camp, probably in June, for the players.
"This year I can come in and pretty much cover things that won't be new to them," Webb said.
The coaches gave out several awards during the basketball banquet Monday evening.
Gurss was recognized for leading the team in steals with 32. Becker led the team in blocks with 15. Rodell led the team in assists with 34.
Aligo made 72.7 percent of his free throws the top free throw percentage required a minimum of 40 attempts.
Rieger and Breuer shared honors for top field goal percentage. They each hit 60.5 percent of their shots from the floor.
Breuer was named the team's most valuable player.
Webb said he was pleased with his first season as head coach.
While he would have liked the team to have finished above .500, the team got better in many areas, he said. He said the team will improve as the players return with experience playing for him.
This season, it took the team several games to adjust to new offensive and defensive sets. Next season, there shouldn't be as much of a transition.