By Jake Schroer
Crow River News Sports
For boys basketball head coach Tim Anfenson, improvement is on the wish list. He knows his team must play well to defend the Mississippi 8 conference championship for the second year in a row.
The team returns six kids who played significant minutes during the regular season, and the rest move up from the junior varsity squad. The six key returning players are Jackson Greenwaldt (junior), Dallas Freeman (senior), Noah Evans (junior), Josh Tracy (junior), Trevor Rothstein (junior) and Brian Sukalski (senior).
Anfenson hates to single out players, but he mentioned Greenwaldt as an all-conference player as Freeman as an honorable mention. Greenwaldt scored 400 points during his sophomore season. He said the players coming up from JV need to step it up.
“There are three or four guys who are going to be in the mix there for playing time,” he said.
The high point of last season for Anfenson was winning a second straight conference championship. His team had to do some work in order to make it happen.
“We had to win a series of games at the end of the season last year, one of which was to go back and win at Buffalo at the end of the season, and we had to win the game to give ourselves a chance to be part of the conference championship. So, that ballgame certainly was a high point for us.”
STMA won nine out of its last ten games to win the conference title, but Buffalo ultimately got the last laugh when it defeated STMA in the section quarterfinal, ending the Knights season.
Anfenson said there are lots of highs and lows during the season and that things are not measured by wins and losses, but rather the experiences of the kids. His favorite part about being a coach is teaching kids a sport that they love, and watching a team come together and play well together.
“A lot of those things that are not showing up on the box score or wins and losses are some of your most memorable moments as a team and a coach.”
Anfenson believes that team play is the most important part of basketball.
“Anytime you sign up for a team sport where you have more than one player out on the field or the court or wherever you’re at, it’s getting those kids to work together to reach a common goal and find that success,” he said.
Anfenson said he was still waiting on some players to join the team once the football season concludes. This included Freeman, Greenwaldt and Evans. He felt that his team might be playing catch-up for part of the season, considering everyone else is practicing with their full roster right now and the Knights cannot.
However, he was very happy for the experience his multi-sport athletes got to have at the Metrodome in the state tournament. Anfenson actually coached football for over 20 years so he knew the kind of experience they got.
“It’s a once in a lifetime thing for those kids.”
The basketball season begins Tuesday at Becker.