With seven seniors, experience is key for MFL MarMac boys basketball

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Members of the 2019-2020 MFL MarMac varsity boys basketball team include (sitting, left to right) Kale Miene, Gavin Meana, Colin Moses; (middle) assistant coaches Cory Donlon and Adam Simon, Ben Miene, Cayden Ball, Cullen McShane, Jordan Harnack, Braden Landt, assistant coach Mychal Moon; (back) head coach Eric Dettbarn, Kaleb Tilson, Spencer Larson, Gavin Hertrampf, Cedrick Drahn, Tyler Kurth, Beau Benzing, Caden Stuckman and assistant coach Mark Kautman. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The MFL MarMac boys basketball team will boast one of its most experienced squads in recent years when it hits the court this week. 

That includes four returning starters in seniors Cedrick Drahn, Tyler Kurth and Gavin Hertrampf, plus junior Cayden Ball.

“I have eight returners overall, and a couple of those other guys actually started games here and there in the past couple years,” said head coach Eric Dettbarn, referring to seniors Caden Stuckman and Spencer Larson. Seniors Beau Benzing and Kaleb Tilson, as well as sophomore Cullen McShane, should also see an increase in playing time, he added.

According to Dettbarn, the senior experience is huge.

“Six of my seven seniors, I believe, have been playing varsity for two seasons, so we have a lot of veteran leadership coming back. Last year, we had one senior and the year before that we had three, so they were playing a lot as sophomores and as juniors,” he explained. “This group has stuck together for quite awhile.”

That experience allows the players to refine what they already know, rather than having to learn the whole system. Dettbarn hopes they’ll be able to coach themselves more on the floor, relying less on him. 

He’ll expect a lot out of Drahn as far as leadership and responsibility, he said, “and getting us set in what to do, how we need to attack certain defenses and the certain types of defense we need to get into.”

Kurth, who was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder a year ago, will be pivotal too.

“I’m not only expecting that, but I’m expecting him to step up and be a little more dominant on the defensive end of the floor,” said Dettbarn.

The Bulldogs, as a whole, need to up their defensive game, the coach noted.

“I think, offensively, we’re going to be able to score, but we’ve got to be able to slow other teams down,” Dettbarn said. “The second thing is we need to handle the ball a little better. We had too many turnovers last year and careless passes.”

Despite the short break between football and basketball seasons this year, Dettbarn said the transition has been smooth. He actually sees it as an advantage.

“They’re coming off a very good football season, and they should be coming off that with a lot of confidence, and hopefully we can carry that over to basketball,” he remarked.

MFL MarMac’s biggest tests this year will come against conference front-runners Turkey Valley and South Winneshiek. 

“Those are a couple big match-ups we have early in the year, where we want to see where we’re at as far as the conference race is concerned,” Dettbarn said.

He believes his team is ready to take on those opponents and also compete for the top spot.

“We definitely have an opportunity, with the growth the kids have made,” he stated. “We’ve got a shot at it.”

The boys will kick off their season Tuesday, Dec. 3, against South Winn, then host West Central on Friday, Dec. 6. They’ll play at Luther College against Fillmore Central on Saturday, Dec. 7.

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