Boys’ Basketball Inconsistent

Anthony Metcalfe, Editor-in-Chief

To say that this year’s boys’ basketball team has experienced an unexpected season would be an understatement. Exciting in its own way, they’ve gone through their schedule consistently inconsistent, providing big moments and disturbingly ugly ones in a matter of minutes. Characterized by a 5-19 record (and one game win streak) as of this writing, the Wildcats only have three more regular season games to gain momentum.

The players had high hopes going into the season. Made up of a core of seniors with previous varsity experience, they had hoped to make up for the big loss in former Wildcat Michael Gorder. While originally their goals appeared to be achievable, winning two of their first three and getting well-known superfan David Immen to call the team “one of the best [Eagan] teams” he’s seen in years, things quickly took a turn for the worse.

The team was quickly struck down by a number of injuries to key players, most notably seniors Bryndan Mathews and Chase Seiberlich. In fact, the Wildcats have only just recently returned to their full lineup, a point of emphasis when looking to answer the question of what happened. As senior captain GT Johnson confirmed, the team didn’t have their “full starting five until thirteen games into the season.” Both he and senior Cole Hibbard pointed to these injuries as a reason for their lackluster record thus far.

More specifically, however, they pointed to the lack of consistency in the lineup, rather than a lack of key players, that has hurt them the most. In referencing the injuries, Hibbard stated that the team “hasn’t really been able to click yet…the injuries were definitely tough.” Cole’s claim was supported by Johnson’s comments, claiming that they have had “a different starting five almost every game…it’s tough to build chemistry when you’re playing with different guys every night.”

Indeed the Wildcats have seen some significant changes made throughout the season, including players’ rises and falls in playing time almost at random. Seemingly the only constant, according to senior Jacob Rupp, is the “bench’s energy.”

While they have suffered through a rough season, the players are still only looking up. Now back to full strength, they hope to make a small run in preparation for sections, with Hibbard thinking that they can win two of the next three. Johnson kept it simple, saying that he wants to win their first section game, a more daunting task than first imagined when realizing that their record will not help them in seeding.

What started off as a rather expectant season, the Wildcats hope to salvage a team with more potential than they have shown in the past. While even Johnson won’t readily offer the Wildcats much of a chance against powerhouse Apple Valley, he does expect to show their first sections opponent what could have been. In a season of surprises for better and for worse (mostly for worse), who knows what this team will pull off as it nears the end of the season.