Three starters return for the Goessel High School Bluebirds boys’ basketball team from 2010-11, but in order to be successful again this year, the team needs to fill roles and develop that team chemistry that makes the season rewarding.
The athletic ability of Braden Unruh, a 6-foot senior, will force opponents to adjust their defense. Unruh scored 14.5 points per game a year ago with 24 3-pointers and 75 percent free throw accuracy. He is also active around the basket and will contribute in rebounding, both offensively and defensively. Because of injury, Unruh missed the first six games of 2010 and hopes to contribute in every game during his senior season.
Goessel’s tallest player, 6-foot-4-inch junior Davis Cook, will make his presence felt at the forward position. Cook averaged 8.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game and tallied 13 blocked shots in his sophomore season.
Junior Trey Schmidt returns at point guard where he averaged 5.7 points, 1.8 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game. His stop-and-start quickness led to 35 steals last year and offensively he notched 24 3-pointers.
Other letter winners that return this year are junior Nic Buller who recorded and 5.2 points per game and 18 steals; Peter Voth, a 6-foot-2-inch senior who helped the team with 1.2 rebounds per game coming off the bench; Drake Sterk will help the team at the forward postion. Shane Goerzen is expected to come off the bench and relieve players at the guard position.
The seniors have memories of last season. Goessel won two games by 1 point and lost to Pretty Prairie twice, both times in overtime. Unruh remembers letting go of a shot against White City that beat the buzzer and helped the Bluebirds to a 1-point victory. Josh Booth has memories of the intensity of the game at Peabody, where both teams desperately wanted to win, creating a great rivalry.
“We are going to need to be able to handle pressure and play good team defense,” first-year head coach Curtis Guhr said.
Last year the Bluebirds were 11-11 overall and 4-3 in the Wheat State League. Guhr is expecting tough games with Centre, Little River, Elyria and Peabody.
“The League will be wide open this year with no one clear favorite,” he said.
The Bluebirds have 25 boys on the team this year, with the first game to be at Inman on Dec 2. Goessel will again host the Bluebird Classic Dec. 5 through 10 for their first home games. The boys are coached by Guhr and assisted by Chad Lindeman and Garrett Hiebert.