Column: Cathedral looks to be competitive again next season

New Ulm Cathedral head boys’ basketball coach Alan Woitas said that an early second-half run by BOLD that pushed a three-point Warrior lead to a 10-point cushion was to much too overcome as Cathedral fell 83-59 to BOLD in the Section 2A quarterfinals on Thursday.

The loss ended Cathedral’s record at 22-6. It was the Greyhounds’ second 20-plus win season in the last three years.

“We did close it down to five or six points — we tried to force turnovers,” Woitas said. “They kept making their shots. But the final score was not evident as how close the game was throughout.”

Woitas said that the 22-6 mark followed an 11-17 record last year in which Cathedral had a bulk of the players returning.

“We knew that we were going to get better and any time you win 20-plus games in a season it is pretty special — I don’t know if I expected 22 wins this year. We won a lot of close games and we played in a pretty good [Tomahawk] conference with Minnesota Valley Lutheran, Springfield, Cedar Mountain/Comfrey and that prepared us for games like this and we played BOLD and Sibley East in non-conference games. They are both still playing basketball in section tournaments.

“We started the year 5-4 but we finished the season 17-2 in our last 19 games which was pretty special,” Woitas said.

Cathedral loses two starters in seniors Nate Hauser (who finished with 1,133 career points) and Jacob Manderfeld but returns a lot.

“We have some spots to fill,” Woitas said. “We had some kids who could have played more varsity minutes but we had a lot of depth so there are some guys who are itching to get there and fill some of those roles. “And I think that we have the potential to be just as good as we were this year if not a little bit better.”

But being better is something that many of the teams in the conference may be too.

“MVL [who loses one senior] is going to be good again as is Springfield and Cedar Mountain,” Woitas said. “And the section will be just as tough as it was this year. Repeating a 22-win season will not be easy.” Cathedral will also get help from a B-squad that posted 23 wins.

HAUSER IN BOOKS: Not only did Hauser score his 1,000th career point for Cathedral but he is also in the Minnesota State High School record books for career 3-point percentage. Hauser is 8th with a career 3-point shooting percentage of 44.78 (146-for-326).

SCORING NEEDED FOR EAGLES: Perhaps the biggest challenge for the New Ulm Eagles boys’ basketball team next year is finding scoring. The Eagles need to find 34 points as seniors Connor Foley (20.3 ppg) and Matt Janke (13.9) graduate. New Ulm averaged just over 60 points a game this year and finished 12-14.

“I don’t know if finding scoring will be our biggest challenge but the graduating seniors provided so much leadership,” New Ulm coach Steve Foley said. “They were also good defensively and were good role models.”

New Ulm does have numbers coming back with 13 of 16 varsity players returning.

“We have five back who played quite a bit and we have kids coming back with experience so that should help,” Foley said. “We may also look to some of the freshmen to push the sophomores as well.”

Foley said that while playing summer basketball is a plus along with getting into the gym and working on skills, the most important aspect is getting into the weight room.

“When you play a team like Marshall, they take average athletes in ninth grade and by the time they are seniors, they are very good athletes,” Foley said. “Because they have been in the weight room. They are a little bit stronger, faster and more agile than we are.”

But getting athletes into the weight room is hard at times.

“You need the seniors’ leadership to show the underclassmen that this is what we need to do,” Foley said. “But it also comes from each individual having that motivation.”

The Eagles do have solid numbers coming up.

“We have 20 freshmen out, 17 in eighth grade and 17 in seventh grade,” Foley said. “We have some good numbers coming up and numbers help push competition. That is a good problem to have.”

Connor Foley ended his career with 1,359 points, first for career boys’ scoring at New Ulm High School. Meleah Reinhart holds the school record for both boys’ and girl’s basketball with 1,842 points.

Also, New Ulm High School junior guard Joey Batt has 1,623 career points going into her senior season next year.

Batt has the chance to break MVL’s Galen Holzhueter’s City of New Ulm scoring record of 2,053 points.

And MVL’s Jake Kettner, who cracked the 1,000-career point total this season, probably wil take over bragging rights in the family next season. Jake, a junior, has 1,241 career points and needs 249 points next season to pass his father Kory’s career total of 1,489 at Nicollet High School in 1991.