There’s a new coach in charge of the South Winn boys’ basketball team. And some new players will get the chance to make a name for themselves as a part of the Warrior basketball team.
After two years as an assistant coach in the program, Derek Taylor takes over as the head man. He’ll be looking to put together a team with four returning letter winners and a host of young hopefuls.
Taylor will be assisted by Mitch Herold.
With five returning letter winners, the Warriors had veteran leaders, including four of the teams’ top scorers from the year before. Throughout the season, South Winn was up and down, winning no more than three games in row, before the final stretch.
The Warriors went 13-3 in the Upper Iowa Conference, earning second overall. Hopes of a long playoff run began with a 64-56 win over Clayton Ridge in the Class 1A quarterfinals. Advancing to the semifinals, the Warriors shocked No. 10 Wapsie Valley, defeating the ranked team, 61-53.
South Winn kept the ball rolling in the district final, outlasting Edgewood-Colesburg 53-49 to advance to its first substate game in 25 years.
Playing in Manchester for the chance to go to state, the Warriors put together another solid effort to defeat Gladbrook-Reinbeck, 63-57, marking the schools’ first appearance at the state tournament in Des Moines since 1987.
At state, South Winn came against a powerhouse in undefeated North Linn, ending the season at the Wells Fargo Arena with a 77-52 score to end the year 18-7 overall.
As a team, the Warriors shot 43.2 percent from the field while averaging 58.4 points a game. The defense gave up 51.8 points a night. In addition, South Winn collected 34.3 rebounds a game, with 281 total assists, 211 steals and 67 blocks.
Following the end of the season, the Warriors graduated seven seniors — Cael Kuboushek, Dominic Sisneros, Jacob Herold, Brandon Frana, Collin Wiltgen, Logan Baumler and Ethan Luzum.
The Warriors have four players back with a letter. Leading the way is senior forward Trey Kriener. As a junior, Kriener averaged 12.9 points a night and shot 57.1 percent from the field. He also averaged 9.6 rebounds a night while having 45 blocks, 35 assists and 14 steals.
Junior forward Keagen Streeter will be back on the court after averaging 6.3 points and 5.3 boards a contest. He also had 22 steals, 13 assists and eight blocks.
Guard Carson Wenthold returns after leading the Warriors in steals with 54 as a sophomore. He averaged 6.2 points a game while grabbing 2.7 rebounds a night. Wenthold also had 45 assists and four blocks.
Filling a post position, Evan Bushman saw action in 19 games
Returning with a letter for the South Winn boys’ basketball team this season are (l-r) Evan Bushman, Keagen Streeter, Trey Kriener, Nick Holien and Carson Wenthold. (Driftless Multimedia photo by Becky Walz)
last year, averaging 0.9 points and 1.3 rebounds a night.
They will be joined by junior guard Dawson Wenthold and sophomore guard Kole Hageman.
Coach Taylor sees his team having good size, speed and high basketball IQ. However, there could be a few concerns early on. For one, he needs players who were injured during fall sports to get healthy. He also sees the Warriors’ lack of depth to be a disadvantage.
“We bring back three of our top six players from the state-qualifying team last year. Outside of those three, I believe we have three more who have made a lot of progress over the off-season that are ready to step up and be key contributors to this year’s team,” noted Coach Taylor.” We had a senior that missed much of last season due to illness, having him back will also be a big help.”
Looking at the Upper Iowa Conference, Coach Taylor believes MFL MarMac, Kee High and Clayton Ridge as being top teams in the league. However, with four letter winners, last years’ experience and potential to put up a lot of points, South Winn should be a top tier team in the conference as well.