Written by Devon Boen
The Wolves’ boys’ basketball season hasn’t officially started, but the boys started warming up this past week at the Maroon and White scrimmage on Nov. 29. Although they were playing against their own teammates, the Wolves came out with intensity often saved for notorious rivals.
Head coach Kelly Nies-kens said it would be an exciting season and revealed the team was working on some new strategies.
Nieskens has been head coach for the past three years and has the help of assistant coaches Cole Hanks and Scott Nasner. Nieskens said he intends to keep practices and games fresh with the help of Nasner’s extensive experience.
“He’s brought in some new ideas. Anytime you get someone with [a lot of] experience, I try to integrate that in,” Nieskens said.
Nieskens said the new material would likely create a learning curve, but believed the team’s solid foundation would help them adjust. He also said this year’s team would be fast and strong on defense.
“We’ve always taken pride in our defense so we’ll continue to do that. I think it has always been one of our strong points,” Nieskens said.
He acknowledged the team’s talent but did not see it as an excuse for complacency. He said he was keeping the boys on their toes during practice with a lot of drills and competitions.
“Keeping the practices intense and competitive kind of brings out the best in everybody and pushes everybody,” Nieskens said.
This type of motivation may be necessary this year since the team will be without Taylor Hanks, who was a senior last year and an integral part of the Wolves’ team. Nieskens also lamented the loss of Tukker Toavs who tore his ACL during the fall football season. Nieskens said Toavs was an important post player, so he has been working to reduce the impact of that loss.
Knowing he would be without several veteran leaders this year, Nieskens started working with a few players in the spring and preparing them to take on leadership roles. He said having leaders on and off the court was important to the overall success of the team.
With the season beginning this week, Nieskens said he looked forward to seeing the development of certain players and encouraged fans to keep an eye out for them as well.
“It’s going to be Meciah [Zilkoski] and Easton [Copenhaver] and as we get going, there are going to be other kids stepping up,” Nieskens said.
Fans can come watch the Wolves kick off the season Dec. 14 at Plentywood.