Gothenburg boys full of surprises

No easy opponents for Swedes.

A few of the names and faces on Gothenburg’s varsity boys basketball team will be familiar to fans this winter.

Some may even recognize the in-your-face man-to-man defense.

Still, coach Kent Koehn says there are plenty of surprises in store this season.

With only three letter winners returning from last year’s 13-9 team, Koehn was initially concerned about how his team might fall together.

Then he discovered some hidden gems.

“I have seven seniors who are a very tight-knit group on and off the court,” Koehn said. “Some of those kids have been forced to sit back and watch for a long time. I think people will be surprised by what they see.”

That includes not only a much-improved skill level but also a bit of height.

“We’re not huge by any means,” Koehn said, “but we have a bunch of kids at 6-foot or taller. That’s more size than we’ve had in several years and they’re athletic, rangy and quick.”

As a whole, the boys’ athleticism will be the team’s strength. The trick, Koehn said, will be learning how to utilize it at both ends of the floor.

There are no stand-outs in the bunch who will lead the team in scoring night in and night out.

“I think that makes us a little harder to defend,” Koehn said. “At this point, our biggest struggle is going to be putting points on the board. We can score, it just hasn’t been consistent yet.”

Koehn is convinced many opponents will play zone defense against the Swedes, trying to force lower percentage perimeter shots.

But Gothenburg will look more at getting into the paint instead, Koehn said.

Defensively, Koehn said, the Swedes will go full speed every play.

“They like to get out and get after it,” he said.

Against many opponents this season, the Swedes won’t have a choice.

Koehn expects Minden to be the front-runner in the Southwest Conference.

“Actually, they’re going to be tough for the next five years,” he said. “They have some young kids who can really play.”

Outside of that, the conference is wide open, he said.

Minden will also likely lead the C1-11 sub-district this year with Cozad, Gothenburg, Kearney Catholic and Southern Valley as the other teams.

First, though, the Swedes must figure out how to deal with a more mature Hershey team of talented sophomores and a Lexington squad with much to offer.

“We don’t really have any easy games,” Koehn said. “When you look at our schedule before Christmas, they’re all tough teams. But one thing about it, they’ll show us what we need to work on.”

Gothenburg opens the season Friday at Hershey before hosting Lexington Saturday. Tip-off Saturday is approximately 6 p.m.

Members of the 2009-10 Gothenburg boys basketball team are (*denotes letter winner):

SENIORS—Andrew Collins, Derek Franzen*, Landen Haake*, Mark Hilderbrand*, Patrick Reeves, Tyler Sheets, Joel Teahon.

JUNIORS— Jonathon Clark, Brennan Costello, Jack Dudley, Branndon McMichael, Dillon McMichael, Cody Ostergard, Josh Williams, Dane Wilson.

SOPHOMORES—Korey Ahlenstorf, Brett Dockweiler, Jackson Graham, Trey Kolbo, Dominic Loibl, Alix Meisinger, Jeramie VanAcker, Brandon Wlasiuk.

FRESHMEN—Aaron Collins, Dillon Gartner, Kaine Golter, Garett James, Logan Koehler, Logan Sheets, Ben Tiedemann, Noah Tripp.