Taking it to the Hoop: WF Sheyenne Boys Basketball
There are still several weeks to go before we move inside and put our focus' on the Basketball court. The time will go by in a hurry so it's time to start previewing some of the local programs. So take a few minutes to hear from the coaches that were gracious enough to answer my questions!
The next coach who was kind enough to take some time & answer questions was West Fargo Sheyenne's Thomas Kirchoffner as he and his team return to the court after one of the best season's in the school's short history.
Thanks again coach Kirchoffner!
The first thing I'm curious about is if there is a memory or two that really stands out as the highlight(s) beyond just the championship?
"Last year was a really tremendous year and I'm grateful for the season that we had. I have a ton of memories from last season but three that stand out are:
1) Our first win versus Fargo Davies – our players shot the lights out, as they made 13 3-pointers in the first half & 17 in the game, which is a school record.
2) Winning the East Region tournament & seeing the scoreboard lit up with our logo & the words 'EAST REGION CHAMPS'. It was another first for our program history and set us for a good run at the state tournament.
3) Beating our rival again in another semifinal game which gave us the opportunity to play in the state championship game."
If you could go back & change a play or moment from last season what would it be and what would you have your players do differently?
"I wouldn’t change a thing. In athletics you have to learn from your losses and your wins. They both are vitally important in the process of becoming a great team and l am thankful for the whole season."
Not specific to last year but in general, is there a particular team that your players enjoy competing against, whether they win or lose?
"With so many schools in this area, I think that they have come to enjoy competing against all the teams in the area."
As for you, is there a team/coaching staff that you most enjoy coaching against?
"I have a lot of respect for the teams & coaching staffs in our conference and each year is different. I like to see what that coach does with what he has at his school. We're all in the same profession so it’s good to catch up with them when we play twice a year. I do enjoy coaching against Coach Ralph from Wahpeton, as he's veteran coach & someone I hold in high regard."
How do you plan on building upon what you taught your returning players last season?
"Our players know that talent/skill is important to winning but I feel they have a better understanding from last year’s team that it takes more than that. Being connected, being a team player, and being positive is what we are going to try to emulate. We will continue with our book study to help us deal with adversity and bring us closer."
You mentioned doing a book study. Being that high school sports should be about more than just what happens on the court, would you mind sharing about that?
"Once our season starts, we go into the classroom and discuss our book that we are reading. The players read on their own then we come together on Wednesday's to discuss what they read - how we can apply it to basketball, life, etc.. Jon Gordon’s books are laid out really well. Some of the main points are culture, communication, being positive, having positive energy, overcoming adversity, not being an energy vampire, grit, etc…
Two years ago, we read “You win in the locker room first.” Last year we read ‘The Power of Positive Leadership.” This year we will read “The Power of a Positive Team”"
Beyond the every team goal of a state championship, what do you hope to accomplish this season?
"My goal is to get our players to focus on 1 practice, 1 drill, 1 rep at a time. We talk about the end goal only once, then focus our attention on the little things that will set us up. Two goals: to become a better shooting team from the 3-point line and to become a better defensive team (teams scored 70 points against us last year). I would like to lower that even though we're an up tempo team. I was pleased how we played during the tournaments, we were really focused on both ends of the court."
Are there any goals that you or your players have in mind that you would be willing to share?
"Our goal is to play as a team and put ourselves in position to make a run."
You lost some key contributors from last year, who do you think will step in to the vacant roles?
"I think we will have a lot of players step up – they understand that if they want to be successful they will have to play as team. Guys that played in the rotation last year were Christian Kuntz, Tyler Terhark, Blake Berg, Chuck Dubois, and Ryan Reynolds (injured most of last season). We have a very deep junior class that will provide nice support on the Varsity and JV level's."
Is there a certain part of the game that you think will be your teams strength this season?
"We will be guard heavy – we have several players that can shoot the 3 and get up & down the court. We're going to try to attack the entire game."
Are there any players that have already shown you that they will be leaders both on and off the court?
"Christian Kuntz will be a 4 year starter which is very rare for Class A basketball. I am looking forward to watching him and the other seniors have a great season. I feel we have a lot of great kids at this school and I see leaders in every grade level - it's really fun putting it together on the court."