The Wadena-Deer Creek boys basketball team is coming off a successful season last year and looks to be ready to perform after a busy off-season.
The Wadena-Deer Creek boys basketball season kicks off on Thursday, Dec. 2, at home against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.
This will be head coach Kevin Tumberg’s seventh season as head coach (ninth overall), along with assistants Alex Brockpahler and Ryan Nelson. Ryan Elfering will be entering his first year as assistant. Since Tumberg has been the head coach, the Wolverines are 72-83. Last year, the squad went 7-7 in conference play, and 10-9 overall.
They will have plenty of experience coming in, with seniors Payton Rondestvedt and Isaac Christianson returning for their last year. Along with them are juniors Phillip Ross, Tyson Barthel, Charlie Bushinger, Isaac Hamann, and Eshetu Loer.
To round out the list are sophomores Peyton Church and Teshe Loer. Tumberg mentioned keeping an eye on Devon Kiser and Josiah Kallevig for stealing the spotlight this year.
“We are going to be a younger team with only a few guys that have full varsity experience,” Tumberg said.
“We have quite a few guys back that were on varsity last year, but with seven seniors last year, many didn’t log a ton of minutes,” Tumberg said. “We have a lot of good athletes and I expect us to push the tempo in games and make opposing teams uncomfortable.”
The head coach likes the team’s versatility, and their work ethic in the gym.
“We have some guys that have spent countless hours in the gym throughout the off-season and I think that’s really going to show how well we can score and handle the basketball,” Tumberg said. We also have an athletic team with guys that can play and guard multiple positions. This will be a big advantage for us on both ends of the floor.”
Even so, one area the Wolverines need to improve on is ball-handling along with making efficient passes and plays.
“Turnovers were an area that really hurt us in games last season,” Tumberg said. “We will need to make sure we take care of the ball this year. Play with the mentality that every possession matters.”
He continued by stating it will be a waiting game with the youth as they develop both on and off the court.
“With our team being young and inexperienced, there will probably be many things that come up throughout the season that we will need to improve on, but we’ll have to wait and see what those are.”
Looking at the schedule, Tumberg sets his eyes on rival New York Mills. W-DC faces them at home on December 9, and away on January 25.
“They return almost their entire roster from their conference championship team last season, along with the reigning conference MVP," Tumberg said. "Teams within the conference will need to play extremely well if they want a shot at beating Mills.” New York Mills was 12-1 in conference play with an overall record of 17-3.
In the bigger picture one team stands out the most, while two others remain solid on both ends of the floor.
“Fergus Falls is going to be one of the top teams,” Tumberg said. “They were the section champs last season and they are a pretty big school. They will have plenty of athletes to step in and replace their lost seniors.”
He also continued by saying that “Perham and Breckenridge always have tough, disciplined teams that will give many teams fits on both ends of the floor.”
With a promising future for the basketball team, and an eye on rivals, the Wolverines are looking to succeed and have a great year.