“Improve with each game, establish confidence and play harder than our opponents,” are the goals set by Viroqua boys basketball coach Joel Anderson, attempting to improve on last year’s 4-19 record.
It could prove a difficult task, with only one returning starter, following the graduation of four seniors, including second team all-Coulee Conference honoree 6-foot-8-inch Michael Lampman, who led the Blackhwks in scoring and rebounding. Also lost to graduation are Hunter Stilwell, Jacob Strangstalien and Bailey Nelson. Senior forward Steve Diehl is the only returning starter for the Blackhawks.
In addition to Diehl, Anderson will be looking to fellow seniors Brett Skrede, Nathan Tunks and Ben Tunks and junior Andrew Wedwick, all with varsity experience from a year ago, to help fill the void left by the graduated seniors from last year’s squad. Juniors Christian Schneider, Tate Knutson, Mason Skrede, Camryn Nelson, Anthony Rappl, Sam Jett and Sam Saner, along with sophomore Jared Anderson, will also be vying for playing time for the Blackhawks this season.
What does Anderson see as his team’s greatest strengths this year? “A sense of optimism, a balanced scoring attack and improved athleticism. We have a younger team and we played together this past summer and were able to work on some of the changes we would like to implement this year.”
“Inexperience” is cited by Anderson, now in his 12th season as VHS head coach, as the Blackhawks’ biggest challenge. “We also need to improve our defense in order for us to be successful and we will need to get stronger around the basket, our rebounding must get better.”
“G-E-T is the top returning team in the conference,” Anderson said. “If we play together and believe in ourselves, I think we have the talent to improve greatly from last year and surprise some people in our league.”
Anderson will be assisted this year by Kodi Etheridge and Cameron Roy.