STRUBER, COLLINS, MINSON TO LEAD EAGLES

By William

CANTON – When Shane Duncan finished out his eighth season as the Canton/Galva Eagle basketball coach, he left to take a job down in southeastern Kansas, leaving the Eagles looking for a new head coach.

And did they find themselves a gem in Larry O’Connor, the father of a teacher within the Canton/Galva school district.

New Eagle Head Coach O’Connor is a gem because he has 26 years’ experience coaching and within that he has won four state championships at two different schools, including as recently as 2015 and 2017 at Sharon Springs after taking a state title back to Brewster in back-to-back seasons of 2000 and 2001.

While Duncan’s final team finished just 9-11, he did not exactly leave the cupboard bare for O’Connor as the Eagles will return Tyson Struber, who has already planted himself among the elite of all-time Eagle athletes in both football and basketball.

All Struber, just a junior, did in 2019-20 was put up some huge numbers and consistently have double digits in both scoring and rebounding.

Joining him as a nucleus for the new coach will be seniors Brayden Collins and Brayden Minson.

Besides those three, O’Connor will have three seniors, two juniors and four sophomores to help with depth.

Among the names that may begin to pop out on the scoring and stat sheets for the Eagles will be six-foot-five junior Brayden Doughman, five-foot-ten senior Brandon Huff, five-foot-ten junior Xavier Westbrook and six-foot sophomore Garrett Maltbie who has already showed his leadership ability as quarterback of the football team.

While Coach O’Connor was looking forward to having some real heighth on the court, six-foot-five junior Brayden Doughman choose not to play basketball this season.

The Eagles will find out quickly how well they are picking up the new system and style of basketball as they open on the road Friday, December 4 at Rural Vista before playing three games next week as part of the Goessel Bluebird Classic Tournament and then finishing up the pre-Christmas part of the schedule by hosting Lyons and traveling to Solomon.

Here is a season preview of the 2020-21 Canton/Galva Eagles:

OPENING 2 WEEKS OF THE SEASON:

  • Open the season on Friday, December 4 on the road at Rural Vista
  • Week of Monday, December 7-Saturday, December 12 – playing in the Goessel Bluebird Classic
  • Tuesday, December 15 – at home hosting Lyons
  • Friday, December 18 – on the road at Solomon

WHAT DOES COACH LARRY O’CONNOR BRING TO THE EAGLES BENCH?

  • This is Larry O’Connor’s first season as the Head Coach for the Canton/Galva Eagles basketball program.
  • Coach O’Connor brings 26 years of coach experience with him.
  • In his career, Coach O’Connor has won 339 games and lost just 131.
  • Coach O’Connor has two state championships at Sharon Springs in 2015 and 2017.
  • Coach O’Connor also won back-to-back state championships at Brewster in 2000 and 2001 while going 126-5 in his tenure at Brewster.

WHO DOES RETURN FOR THE CANTON/GALVA EAGLES?

The Canton/Galva Eagles will return three key players:

  • Tyson Struber, a 6’3” junior.
  • Brayden Collins, a 6’2” senior.
  • Brayden Minson, a 5’10” senior.

RETURNEES & NEWCOMER(S) THAT MAY SEE PLAYING TIME?

Among the other returnees and newcomers that Coach O’Connor is counting on to contribute are:

  • Connor Koehn, a 6’3” senior.
  • Andrew Prieb, a 6’2” senior.
  • Brandon Huff, a 5’11” senior.
  • Christian Darrah, a 5’10” junior.
  • Xavier Westbrook, a 5’10” junior.
  • Garrett Maltbie, a 6’0” sophomore.
  • TJ Koehn, a 6’3” sophomore.
  • Cason Mastre, a 5’9” sophomore.
  • Braison Alcala, a 5’9” sophomore.

WHAT COACH O’CONNOR IS SAYING ABOUT THE UPCOMING 2020-21 EAGLES SEASON?

GENERAL OUTLOOK:

  • “Expectation are to get better everyday learning a new system and playing a different style of basketball.”

OVERALL OUTLOOK FOR THE 2020-21 SEASON:

  • “If these kids can pick up the new system, and they have the ability to do that, we will be a pretty good team by the time we get to post-season play in March.”

{Canton/Galva Eagle Activity Postings is in need of WINTER SPORT SPONSORS to cover costs – low as $8/week – inquiry with William at crossdovewriter@gmail.com}

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