Boys team a puzzle wrapped in an enigma
Published: Thursday, March 14th, 2013
Having covered Custer High School athletics for over a decade now, I feel Iâ��have a pretty good grasp on how Wildcat sports teams are going to do long before the team ever sets foot on its respective field or court of play at the beginning of the season. Two weeks after the season ended for the high school boys basketball team, I’m still mystified by the season the team had.
In my weekly conversations with head coach Larry Luitjens, I routinely confessed to him this year’s team was the most baffling team I could remember covering for the Chronicle. Iâ��can’t remember a team that could alternate so wildly between brilliant and horrible play during the course of a season, a game or even a quarter. It was, and remains, mind-boggling.
When the season began, I looked at the returning players and pegged the team to, at the very least, reach the District 15A championship game. Iâ��knew Red Cloud would again be tough, but I thought a state tournament berth was possible if the team could get out of the district. I also thought St. Thomas More would be down this year after graduating virtually its entire team, and we saw that wasn’t the case.
One of the team’s main problems was its interior defense, and oftentimes, its defense as a whole. In my years at the Chronicle, one of the calling cards of a Luitjens team is its defense. This season, players seemed to frequently alternate between good and bad defensive play, and never really seemed to be all on the same page defensively. Over the second half of the year the book was out on Custer—get the ball inside.
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