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Prep Boys Basketball Preview | Chi-Hi Cardinals

Prep Boys Basketball Preview: Chi-Hi eager to utilize deep, athletic roster

The Chi-Hi boys basketball team likes its options.

It’s just a matter of see who steps up where.

Chi-Hi coach Jason Proue and his staff are excited for the options they have entering the season. The Cardinals have a large group of players to choose from for playing time and early on Proue said the team’s willingness to learn and work hard has stood out.

Jason Proue

Proue

“We have 14 guys on the varsity roster and they’re good,” Proue said. “They’re deep. We have really good athletes. This is probably the fastest team we’ve had in the last five years and their willingness to learn, their willingness to be coached is really sticking out.”

Chi-Hi finished 13-10 a season ago, tying Eau Claire Memorial for third place in the Big Rivers Conference standings. It was the second winning season in a row for the Cardinals the first time the program accomplished that feat since 2014-2016 and the combined 32 victories over the past two seasons are the most for the program in a two-year stretch since the late 1980s.

Video highlights from the Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021 boys basketball contest between Chi-Hi and Stevens Point at Chi-Hi.

Mason Monarski, Keion Twyman, Kansas Smith and Christian Crumbaker each played in nearly every game a season ago and are the most experienced returners for the Macks. The junior Monarski was third on the team in scoring in 2020-21 at 9.4 points per game including 46 three-pointers while grabbing 3.5 rebounds per contest and earned All-Chippewa County honorable mention accolades. The senior Twyman was fourth on the team in scoring (7.5 points) and third in rebounds (3.9) while the junior Smith averaged 3.5 points and two boards and the junior Crumbaker scored 1.9 points per game.

Proue said in the past the team has leaned on the veterans of their respective classes to show the way for youngsters and now this year’s vets who were once new to the varsity game will move into that position.

“We want to see, we want to figure out who can be in that rotation,” Proue said. “We have 14 guys who can play, no hesitance to put any of those guys in the game so it’s about filling out. Obviously having Mason Monarski, Kansas Smith, Keion Twyman and Christian Crumbaker back it’s just filling in around them.”

Video highlights from the Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021 prep boys basketball contest between Chi-Hi and Menomonie in Chippewa Falls.

Juniors Jackson Tomczak and Trent Lindner played sparingly a season ago and will be joined by Jackson Gugel, Zeke Johnson, Mason Howard, David Terhark, Carson Wedemeyer, Dominiek Quigley, Easton Bobb and Gubgnit Mason as options.

“It’s cool to see the mix of guys and play guys in different roles in different situations throughout the game and how that all works out,” Proue said.

Chi-Hi got its first taste of regular season game action on Tuesday in Superior and will host its home opener on Tuesday, Nov. 30 against Medford. Overall three of Chi-Hi’s first four games of the regular season are on the road before the Cardinals host three straight games against Menomonie (Dec. 10), Wausau West (Dec. 13) and Rice Lake (Dec. 17).

Video highlights from the Chi-Hi boys basketball team's 90-81 overtime victory over Eau Claire Memorial on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021 at Chi-Hi.

The Cardinals will play two games over the holiday break in Green Bay at the Kress Center against Appleton North (Dec. 28) and Appleton East (Dec. 29). Two years ago the Cardinals won the outright Big Rivers Conference championship, the first for the program since 1980. Last season the Cardinals followed up with another strong effort to finish in the top half of the league standings as River Falls topped Hudson for the conference crown.

“They’re just a very fun group,” Proue said of the team. “They’re (a) hard working group. They push each other and they have great attitudes. It’s fun come every day and watch them develop and grow.”

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