By William for

LINDSBORG – Despite having a sub-par overall record of 9-13 in 2018-19, the Smoky Valley boys basketball team came on strong at the end of the season by beating nearly making state by defeating Norton and number two seed Phillipsburg in their Class 3A sub-state before losing to Thomas More Prep in the sub-state finals.

Now Viking Head Coach Doug Schneider must replace all five starters who have graduated, which means they will count on All-Central Kansas League honorable mention Cade Schneider, a senior guard to provide much needed senior leadership.

Here is our look ahead to the 2019-20 season for the Smoky Valley Viking boys’ basketball program:


  • The Smoky Valley boys graduated all five starters from the 2018-19 season.


  • Starter – Cade Schneider, a six-foot-three senior guard who averaged 8.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game last season, named Honorable Mention All-Central Kansas League.
  • Matt Lucas, a six-foot-three senior forward who averaged 2.4 points and 2.3 rebounds per game last season.
  • Johann Rauchholz, a six-foot-one senior forward who averaged 1.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game last season.
  • Trey Kennedy, a five-foot-ten senior guard, averaged 9.7 points per game in junior varsity action.
  • Ryan Heline, a junior guard.
  • Brandt Heble, a junior forward


  • Haven Lysell, a sophomore center/forward


  • Head Coach Doug Schneider is beginning his 9th season as head coach for the Smoky Valley boys’ basketball team.
  • At this point, Coach Schneider has an overall record at Smoky Valley of 72-103.
  • Coach Schneider spent 2000-2011 as an assistant coach at Smoky Valley in which time the Vikings went 164-49.
  • Before coming to Smoky Valley, Schneider was head coach at Marion High School from 1995-97 where his teams went 7-35.
  • In 2018-19 the Smoky Valley boys went 9-13 overall and 2-6 in Central Kansas League play (finished 7th) before losing to Thomas More Prep in the Class 3A sub-state finals.
  • In 2017-18 the Smoky Valley boys went 14-8 overall and 6-3 in Central Kansas League play (finished 3rd).
  • In 2016-17 the Smoky Valley boys went 15-8 overall and 8-2 in Central Kansas League play (finished 3rd).


  • What is the biggest job ahead for the Smoky Valley boys? Coach Schneider noted, “After graduating five starters who led a new look Viking team to within one game of the Class 3A State Tournament, we will look to a new group of players to emerge this season to take over the bulk of the scoring load.”
  • Who will be counted on to rebuild the lineup and key reserves for 2019-20? Coach Schneider discussed four players he is counting on, saying, “We will return Cade Schneider who played an extensive amount of time as a back-up last season when he averaged 8.3 points and 2.4 rebounds per game while leading the team in three-pointers with 36. Joining Cade in the backcourt will be senior Trey Kennedy who saw significant minutes at the end of the season and who also brings a strong outside game. In the frontcourt we will be looking at a duo of seniors with Johann Rauchholz and Matt Lucas. Both bring a lot of energy and create match up problems both inside and outside the paint. Rauchholz will give us help on defense with his quickness while Lucas demonstrated a strong presence around the rim last season where he provides a nice inside/outside punch.
  • Who will be the ‘so called’ newcomers to the varsity to watch for? Coach Schneider referenced three other players he was looking at for help, “Three players we will be looking at to step into varsity roles include junior guard Ryan Heline, junior forward Brandt Heble and sophomore forward/center Haven Lysell in the post area.”
  • What will serve as the strengths for the upcoming season for the Vikings boys? Coach Schneider replied, “Defense! Overall, this Viking team can take off from where last year’s team left off on the defensive end as they have quickness across the board and bring a strong understanding of the game to be able to read other teams and create steals. Inside, the Vikings are not as tall as last season but will create a number of mismatches due to their moderate size and quickness. This team also has the ability to be a very strong outside shooting team, plus we bring back several players who can stretch the court from as many as all five positions at any one time.
  • Will the team have a weakness coming into the new season? There will be question marks according to Coach Schneider who said, “Interior defense will be a question mark this season as the Vikings will be smaller compared to a number of teams inside the paint. This was an issue last year at times and will need to be something the Vikings must shore up as the season progresses. This team is also going to need to work on cohesiveness on the floor. It will be a work in progress as the depth chart develops to find players who can feed off the other players to make a cohesive group that can work together to make the team the best it can be. As always, we must replace some very good players from last year’s team, but we have players who are chomping at the bit to fill those roles.”
  • What are the coaching staff’s top goals for the 2019-20 season? Coach Schneider concluded his pre-season reflections by saying, “We have four very basic, sound goals for the upcoming season – to be competitive in every game, finish in the top four at the Sterling Invitational Tournament, finish in the top three of the Central Kansas League and win sub-state to qualify for state. We have some top teams in our league, including Larned, Hoisington, Haven, Hillsboro, Hesston and Nickerson. Both Larned and Hoisington were very good last season and return almost everyone.”


  • The Smoky Valley boys’ basketball team will open the 2019-20 season on Friday, December 6, with a road trip to Abilene.

(Check us out at

(Post is SPONSORED by CrossDove Writers)