Taking the lead

West Central Area senior Tate Christenson dishes the ball in a game last season.

After falling just short of a Class A state tournament berth in the 2019-20 season, the West Central boys’ basketball team looks to repeat as the Pheasant Conference champion returning four of their top seven scorers for the 2020-21 campaign.

"This team plans to compete with the top teams in both the Pheasant Conference and Section 6A," Knights head coach Kraig Hunter said. "Keys to a successful season will be to stay healthy throughout the season and developing depth.”

Led by seniors Grant Beuckens (G), Tate Christenson (F), Brady Reeve (C ) and junior Ryder Staples (F) the Knights have the key ingredients to repeat its 25-plus win season. Hunter stated that last season the starting rotation was interchangeable and the four saw significant time during big games.

Other returning lettermen are senior Xander Bontjes and Nathaniel Junker, sophomores Cole Anderson, Jacob Strunk and Isaac Kreft.

The Knights will need to find replacements for three graduated starters and will look to their underclassmen to fill roles on the varsity roster. “Like the entire year of 2020, this season has a lot of unknowns. We have big numbers in both the sophomore and freshmen classes with a lot of players evenly matched in talent so we will see who steps forward by January to see who can give us some depth on the varsity,” Hunter said.

The Knights will continue their simple goals — “playing extremely hard night in and night out and to play unselfish basketball.” Hunter believes that his team will accomplish these goals due to the experience and versatility of his squad.

The Knights head coach sees Ashby and Hancock as being the top two contenders for the South subsection title, while other teams will also be in the mix.

Hunter will be assisted by Brian Kejsbo, Jon Nelson, Brad Westrom and Devin Nelson this season.

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