By William / www.mcpherson-county-ks.com

LITTLE RIVER – There will be three major obstacles for the Little River boys basketball team to overcome in 2021-22, one being the idea that they graduated three of their five starters including all-everything Jayden Garrison along with sidekicks Trey Rolfs and Graham Stephens as they were the core of a team that finished last season 22-2 and second in the Class 1A state tournament.

Number two obstacle will be the lack of practices as the Little River football team played into the state championship game which means less than a week worth time together on the hardwood before their first game on Friday, December 3.

The final obstacle could be that they have a new man in charge as Erik Base takes over as the head coach of the Redskin boys. What will benefit Coach Base though is having the assistance on the bench of Roger Trimmell. Everyone in the McPherson area knows of Trimmell’s basketball knowledge and leadership as he was the long-time head coach at McPherson College.

With the departure of Garrison, Stephens, and Rolfs, the Redskins lose 42.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 7.0 steals per game.

What the Redskins do have is two solid returning starters in juniors Braxton Lafferty and Rylan Konen. Lafferty had a breakout season in 2020-21 by averaging 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game, while Konen, who has started since his freshman season, returns with 4.7 points, and 3.2 rebounds per game.

Unfortunately, both Lafferty and Konen were leaders on the football team and as the season ended, both were a bit banged up so one or neither of them may be at full speed at the beginning of the basketball season.

Coach Base noted that the top man off the bench last season Dalton Mantz returns for his junior season while Base is hoping sophomore Andrew Smith will fill some current needs.

“We will return two starters and our sixth man from last season,” noted new head coach Erik Base. “They were all contributor’s last season in the roles they filled, but those roles will be needed to be elevated for us to find success.”

Despite the losses and number of new faces, some preseason polls still list Little River as a possible top five team for 2021-22.

Coach Base finished reflecting on the upcoming season by adding, “We will have many fresh faces on the court, but I believe we will have a deep team and that many kids will contribute to our new success as we will be very athletic and want to cause chaos defensively.”

Here is a complete summary of the upcoming 2021-22 season for the Little River Redskin Boys:

LITTLE RIVER REDSKINS OPENING MONTH OF THE 2021-22 SEASON =

Friday, December 3 = At Lincoln

Monday, December 6 = At Goessel Bluebird Classic vs. Elyria Christian

Tuesday, December 7 = At Goessel Bluebird Classic vs. Goessel

Saturday, December 11 = At Goessel Bluebird Classic

Tuesday, December 14 = At Moundridge

Tuesday, December 21 = Host Herington

WHAT YOU GET WITH REDSKIN HEAD COACH ERIK BASE =

  • Head Coach Erik Base is in his first season as head coach of the Redskin boys.
  • Coach Base will be assisted by Roger Trimmell
  • In 2020-21 the Redskin boys finished the season 22-2 on the season and lost in the semi-finals at the state tournament.

REDSKIN PLAYERS WHO GRADUATED/TRANSFERRED =

  • Jayden Garrison = averaged 24.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.5 steals per game in 2020-21.
  • Trey Rolfs = averaged 12.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 2.0 steals per game in 2020-21.
  • Graham Stephens = averaged 6.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.5 steals per game in 2020-21.

KEY RETURNING REDSKIN PLAYERS FOR 2021-22 =

  • Braxton Lafferty = junior guard/forward starter; averaged 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.5 steals per game in 2020-21.
  • Rylan Konen = junior forward and 2-year starter; averaged 4.7 points, 3.2 rebounds per game in 2020-21.
  • Dalton Mantz = junior guard; averaged 1.6 points per game in 2020-21.

INCOMING PLAYERS TO PAY ATTENTION TO =

  • Andrew Smith = sophomore forward.

WHAT COACH ERIK BASE HAS TO SAY =

OUTLOOK FOR 2021-22 = “We will return two starters and the sixth man from last year’s team. They were solid contributors last year in their roles, but those roles will need to be elevated for us to be successful as we will have many new faces on the floor. I believe we will have a deep team and have many kids contribute.”

ON THE STRENGTHS FOR THE UPCOMING SEASON = “I believe that we will be an athletic team that can cause some chaos defensively.”

WHAT THE TEAM WILL NEED TO WORK ON = “We have to build varsity level experience. There is promise, but we just have not had the opportunity to show others what they are capable of.”

{Little River Redskin Previews are SPONSORED by Everhart Precision Ag, Inc.}