The Menomonie boys basketball team is ready to hit the ground running this season as they return four starters from last year along with a number of important role players.
Menomonie finished 3-20 and at the bottom of the Big Rivers Conference at 2-10, but the team brings back 10 of the team’s 11 letterwinners, including senior guards Sam Sleichert and Jake Ebert, both honorable mention all-conference a season ago.
Sleichert averaged 8 points per game while grabbing 3 rebounds while Ebert finished last season averaging 8.4 point and 3 rebounds.
Also back in the starting lineup is senior guard Jace Kressin and junior guard Dylan Boecker. Kressin led the team at 11 points per contest and Boecker was at 7.3 points and 4 rebounds.
“With the amount of experience we have coming back this season we expect to be very competitive this season,” Menomonie coach Matt Riley said. “We have multiple players who have 2-3 years of playing varsity basketball, which is huge positive in this league.”
Sam Zbornik (6.5 points and 3 rebounds), Brock Thornton (2 points and 3 rebounds) and Colter Feddersen (1 point) are back to help up front at the forward position.
In the backcourt the Mustangs will have added depth with junior guards Davis Barthen (5.9 points) and Ethan Wurtzel (3.9).
Riley is looking for newcomers Jed Ogea, Devauntaye Parker and Zach Zaborske to also have a role this year.
With returning depth the Mustangs bring back this season Riley wants to see the team make a jump in the standings. With solid depth throughout the conference the race for the Big Rivers title could be close. Riley is looking for Menomonie to be competitive each night and hopefully finish in the top half of the conference.
“I really like the makeup of our team this season,” Riley said. “We have taken some lumps the past two seasons, but we were very young. Now we have all of those players who were playing as sophomores and juniors ready to make a big step up. This team is very hungry to play well and they have great team chemistry.”
Menomonie begins the season on Tuesday with a road matchup against Sparta before opening the conference slate on Friday at Eau Claire Memorial.
After three road games to begin the season the Mustangs open their home portion of the schedule on Dec. 7 against Chippewa Falls.
Menomonie plays five of six games at home in late January and into February, starting on Jan. 22 versus Altoona until Feb. 8 against Eau Claire North. The lone road game during the stretch is on Jan. 31 at Chippewa Falls.
The Mustangs also feature nonconference matchups with La Crosse Logan, La Crosse Central, New Richmond, Holmen, Medford and Superior this season.