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MFL MarMac’s strong athletic culture looks to fuel more basketball success

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The MFL MarMac boys basketball team includes (front, left to right) manager Aedan Whitney, Austin Trappe, Carter Lightfoot, Parker Kuehl, Carter Stoddard, assistant coach Mychal Moon; (back) assistant coach Cory Donlon, Brock Hackett, Carsten Pester, Sawyer Keehner, Landyn Miene, Bryce Diehl, Jaron Wille, Wyatt Powell, Wes Corlett, Carver Blietz-Bentien, Jaxon Millage, Eli Hanson and head coach Eric Dettbarn. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

 

The MFL MarMac boys basketball team returns several starters and key contributors from last year’s state qualifying team, but will look to some players to fill larger roles as the squad navigates early season injuries.

 

“We’re kind of a work in progress right now,” acknowledged head coach Eric Dettbarn last week.

 

The Bulldogs will likely be without senior Wyatt Powell and junior Brock Hackett until after Christmas break. They, like several other basketball players, were banged up during MFL MarMac’s historic football season.

 

The long playoff run meant the full team had only practiced together twice as of last Wednesday, said Dettbarn.

 

“There’s definitely some rust we have to knock off, and some guys are pretty beat up from playing football, so you kind of have to balance out getting their skills where they need to be and not beating them up too bad,” he shared.

 

Rather than kicking off the season Monday, Nov. 27, against Waukon, that game has been postponed to early January, and the Bulldogs will instead start their schedule Friday, Dec. 1, in a home match-up with Kee.

 

Despite the injuries, Dettbarn views MFL MarMac’s football success as a positive for the basketball program.

 

“The experience they got in football, playing in the playoffs, I think can only help us mentally. Right now, the culture in the high school as far as boys athletics is pretty good,” he said, harkening back to the basketball team qualifying for state a year ago, the baseball team advancing to substate and, of course, the football team playing in the state championship. “We’ve got some talented kids in the high school, and hopefully that talent will show through in the basketball season.”

 

Two starters from last season, senior Carver Blietz-Bentien and junior Parker Kuehl, will lead the Bulldogs. In the absence of Powell and Hackett, senior Bryce Diehl, junior Landyn Miene and sophomore Carter Lightfoot will fill out the rest of the starting lineup. Dettbarn listed senior Sawyer Keehner, junior Jaron Wille and sophomore Eli Hanson among the role players off the bench.

 

“It’s kind of hard to see where we’re at right now, but I like the experience we have coming back,” Dettbarn said. “The kids who are going to fill in are talented kids. Hopefully they can step in and play a good role for us and we can keep this thing rolling.”

 

Their contributions will be especially important offensively. MFL MarMac will also have to play well defensively.

 

“The last couple years, we’ve been a real good defensive team. I think these guys have a chance to be another real good defensive team. That’s the key for us,” Dettbarn said. “A lot of our offense is off what we do defensively. Our ability to get stops, rebounds and get out and go.”

 

Dettbarn anticipates Friday opponent Kee, as well as North Fayette Valley and South Winneshiek, to contend with the Bulldogs for the Upper Iowa Conference title. 

 

To be successful, the coach said his goals for the team are simple: “We want to improve throughout the year, and every time we step on the floor, we want to win the ballgame. See where it goes from there.” 

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