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Boys basketball team looks for consistency


The Rangers open the home schedule Dec. 14 against Scio

As the Estacada boys’ basketball team readies itself for the start of the season, head coach Kevin Kirchhofer already likes what he sees.

“We have made really good progress since last season, and even since the first day of practice,” Kirchhofer said. “They have been working extremely hard, and they have especially been working well with each other as teammates. We have been emphasizing the ‘team’ concept.”

Kirchhofer said this season’s team will be defined by the way it plays together as a unit. His feeling was that the Rangers had a tendency to play more as individuals at times in the past, and he saw that as something that needed to change.

The players have accepted the adjustment whole-heartedly. A few seniors have emerged as leaders and have bought into the philosophy of the coaching staff, and the rest of the team has followed their lead.

“We already have better leadership than we did last year,” Kirchhofer said. “Jacob Johnson is a guy who will be a leader on and off the court. He put in the most work in the offseason and has improved every part of his game. He will also be a vocal leader, and so will Alec Barstad. Those guys will do what needs to be done to make the team better.”

Leadership will be essential in Estacada’s effort to improve its status in the Tri-Valley Conference. Over the course of the past few seasons, consistency has eluded Estacada. Last season, Estacada had major let-downs throughout the season. The Rangers came up with some big wins as they compiled a 6-14, but couldn’t maintain competitive play for more than a few games. Estacada had one stretch where it won four out of five games, then dropped 10 straight.

Those losses might have been acceptable if the Rangers were giving their all for a full 32 minutes, but that wasn’t always the case. The coaches, and some of the players themselves, felt like they could have given a little more in a few of their defeats.

Reversing that trend is the top goal the Rangers have set for themselves this season. They believe they will be improved in the standings if they can make a concerted effort to fight to the end every time they step out on the hardwood.

“We want to walk out of every game knowing we played as hard as we possibly could,” Kirchhofer said. “Wins are nice, but our focus is on reaching our full potential as players and as a team. If we do everything we can to reach that potential, the wins and losses will take care of themselves.”

With a new resolve to battle every second of every game, the Rangers promise to be a fun team to watch.

Estacada opens the season on Monday at Toledo. The Rangers’ home opener is on December 14 at 7:30 p.m. against Scio.