NEW ULM - While the Minnesota Valley Lutheran boy's basketball team struggled last season, the Chargers have hopes that last year's experience leads to more success this year.
MVL is coming off a 4-22 season, but there are many players returning from that team, meaning they should be able to pick up a few more wins.
Seniors Nick Dewanz, Chad Lease, Nate Wong and DeAndre Parker played a lot of minutes last year and that should help the Chargers going forward.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Minnesota Valley Lutheran senior Chad Lease is back to help lead the Chargers this season.
In Dewanz and Lease, the Chargers have their top two scorers from last year back. Dewanz averaged 10 ppg and Lease averaged 9.6 ppg and both will be counted on to provide a lot of the scoring this year.
While he has the offensive part of the game down, Lease said he'd like to add a few more elements to his game.
"Just overall, being a good leader I guess," Lease said. "Making sure we're getting good shots and good looks, you gotta convert on the really easy ones."
MVL coach Craig Morgan wants Dewanz and Lease to step up every night.
"They gotta play consistently each and every night," Morgan said. "We need [Dewanz] to get double-figure rebounds, double-figure points each and every night and Chad has to get in the mix and we need the same thing out of him. Those two guys we're looking to lead by example."
Morgan also thinks Lease and Dewanz will team together and lead the way for the Chargers.
"We're working on them each complimenting each other," Morgan said. "They work hard and they get along good as a group and as a team. Guys like Nick will put in time after practice and Chad will be diving on the loose ball, Seth Kroells the same thing."
With four seniors on the team, Morgan is hoping they can step up and take over the team right away.
"It's nice to have some guys with similar talents throughout the line-up, because that makes practices more competitive," Morgan said. "If they can compete day in and day out at practice, guys will get better."
Lease wants to improve on defense.
"We really need to rebound the ball well and play very good defense," Lease said. "The whole offense starts with defense."
Juniors on the team include Alex Bumgarner, Aaron Buch, Tim Plocher, Eric Westphal, Kroells and Josh Koelpin and sophomores Josh Wong and Jacob Hoffman will also contribute to the team.
Morgan is hoping to have a running team, so he knows how valuable the early season practices are.
"We're trying to go back to what we used to do, and it's a work in progress," Morgan said. "It's a style that I'm comfortable with and it's a style I think the kids enjoy playing."
Morgan thinks Springfield, Sleepy Eye St. Mary's, Cedar Mountain/Comfrey, and New Ulm Cathedral could be tough in the Tomahawk Conference this year, along with a few other teams.
The Chargers open the season at Redwood Valley on Tuesday.