CANTON – For 2022-23, the Canton/Galva boys basketball program will look toward a sizable number of players returning with competitive court experience to counter several key graduations to make the upcoming season a step forward and hopefully a possible trip to the state tournament in March.
Back for his third season as the leader of the program is Larry O’Connor who led the Eagles to back-to-back winning seasons, going 10-9 in 2020-21 and 11-10 last season. Ted Regehr will be the assistant on the bench as O’Connor continues to pull from his experiences of leading the programs at Brewster and Sharon Springs. Combining his tenure at the three schools, he has a sparkling career mark of 357-151.
One thing coach O’Conner will have to do is find replacements for four key graduates in Tyson Struber, Christian Darrah, Xavier Westbrook and Braydon Doughman.
What O’Connor does have is nucleus of 11 Eagles returning with game time experience, including five seniors, four juniors and a pair of sophomores.
The senior leadership will come from returning starters Cason Mastre – a five-foot-ten guard, TJ Koehn – a six-foot-four post, and Garrett Maltbie – a six-foot guard/forward as well as Preston Minson – a five-foot-ten guard/forward, and Walker Nightingale – a six-foot forward. Juniors Wyatt Collins – a six-foot-two forward, Lane McMannis – a five-foot-ten guard, and Jaden Ediger – a five-foot-nine guard will also be in the mix for quality time on the court. Jory Ratzlaff – a six-foot junior, Noah Collins – a six-foot sophomore, and Jose Beltz, a five-foot-eleven sophomore are newcomers looking to be in the mix as well for some court time as well.
“We had a really good season going in 2021-22 up until just after Christmas when we lost all-stater Tyson Struber and several other key players to injuries,” noted O’Connor in his brief pre-season reflections. “Due to those injuries, a lot of young players got valuable playing time which will help us and them in the upcoming season.”
When it comes to new faces on the court for the Eagles in 2022-23, none will be more expected to provide instant success than senior transfer Jett Vincent. Vincent is a six-foot-four forward who spent the past two seasons playing for Wheatland/Grinnell where he averaged 15.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 2.5 steals as a junior after putting up 13.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.7 steals in stats as a sophomore.
O’Connor concluded his pre-season reflections by adding, “If we come into the basketball season healthy after football, we will be very solid. With the run in the playoffs, basketball practice time has been limited, but once we get our basketball legs we will be a solid team to contend with.”
The Eagles will open the 2022-23 season on Friday, December 2 at home hosting Rural Vista before spending the first full week of December playing in the Bluebird Basketball Classic at Goessel.
2022-23 EAGLE SCHEDULE:
Friday, Dec 2 > host Rural Vista
Monday-Saturday, Dec 5-10 > at Bluebird Classic in Goessel
Monday, Dec 12 > host Marion
Tuesday, Dec 13 > host Lyons
Friday, Dec 16 > at Centre
Tuesday, Dec 20 > host Wakefield
Friday, Jan 6 > at Elyria Christian
Tuesday, Jan 10 > at Solomon
Friday, Jan 13 > host Goessel
Tuesday-Saturday, Jan 17-21 > host Canton/Galva Boys Tournament
Tuesday, Jan 31 > at Herington
Friday, Feb 3 > host Peabody/Burns
Tuesday, Feb 7 > host Little River
Friday, Feb 10 > at Rural Vista
Tuesday, Feb 14 > host Central Christian Academy
Thursday, Feb 16 > host Central Plains (Senior Night)
Monday-Saturday, Feb 27-Mar 4 > at Sub-State
Wednesday-Saturday, Mar 8-11 > State Tournament at Dodge City
(The Staff covering McPherson County Activities can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org)