Arcadia boys basketball searches for scoring
Just two years ago, the Arcadia High School boys basketball team won a single game, but progress was made last season, as the Raiders worked their way to an 8-9 record (6-4 Coulee Conference).
Coach Ryan Sonnentag knows there are more questions than answers as he works to continue building his team back to contention and a winning record, he told the Times ahead of the team’s season opener on Tuesday at Whitehall.
The Raiders lost its top three scorers from last season and return just two starters.
“It’s not a secret that we graduated quite a few kids last year, so the other guys have got to step up,” Sonnentag said. “So it’s gonna be a really fun thing to see guys stepping into roles, and it’s just gonna be an interesting year, that’s for sure.”
Multiple players with little varsity experience will have to step up and play big minutes for Arcadia, Sonnentag said, and he thinks it’s hard to tell where exactly his team will end the season.
The Coulee Conference should be led by West Salem, which returns all of its starters and its two best bench players. Onalaska Luther, which tied with the Panthers for the co-conference championship last season, should also be a big challenge, Sonnentag said.
After that, most teams in the area are looking to see what their team has.
“It’s gonna be a very interesting year in the area. There was a lot of graduated talent, so we’re gonna have a lot of teams that are going to be finding themselves, I think, throughout the year, and I think we’re gonna be one of those teams,” Sonnentag said.
Arcadia will be searching for players who can score. If they find that, Sonnentag said they should be able to build on last season’s growth.
“We’re gonna have to commit to slowing the other team down a little bit with our defense and only limiting them to one shot. That’s gonna be how we’re going to have to be successful.”
The Raiders do return a pair of starters in seniors Trev Bjorge and Kaden Updike, two players who bring different skillsets.
Bjorge should lead the team in rebounding, a skill that could keep the Raiders in games this season.
“He’s not a big high school player, but he’s a strong wing, strong guard. And he rebounds really well for kind of an undersized big. He’s one of the best offensive rebounders I’ve coached, and he chases the ball really well.
Updike has continued to grow as an offensive player, Sonnentag said, and he acts as a leader on the court.
“He’s a great leader,” Sonnentag said. “He’s another coach on the floor for us, and just the things he does just go unsung. He’s not a 20 point per game scorer, but he’s, he’s really improved his offense since his sophomore year.”
The Raiders continue their season by hosting Westby this coming Monday.