Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family Boys Basketball 2018-19
The Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family boys basketball team went 14-11 a year ago and ended the season after a win in the playoffs. With some returning talent, and some new explosive players, the Bulldogs are looking to make even more noise in Class D-1 basketball this season.
The Lincoln Journal State released its preseason Nebraska prep boys basketball rankings on Wednesday and listed the Bulldogs as the 10th best team in class D-1.
“I think for this group, the sky is the limit,” head coach Joe Hesse said during practice on Wednesday. “It just kind of depends on how pieces fall together and how kids end up playing. This is a really good group. It could be a very talented group. We just have to get used to playing with each other.”
Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family return five seniors from last year’s team - Turner Beller, Brandon Wunderlich, Dylan Hanzel, Ethan Hanzel and Carter Masteller.
The team opens up the season at 7:30 p.m. Friday when they host Clarkson/Leigh.
The Bulldogs also return some players to the roster who sat out a year ago with injuries.
“Last year we got to 14 wins,” Hesse said. “We graduated a few pretty good seniors. We graduated some height. We bring back a couple guys that are pretty good, and we get a couple guys back from injury.
“Dylan Hanzel missed all of last year with a shoulder injury. Tyler Sjuts is a junior, he missed all of last year with a knee injury, so on top of the guys that played, we bring others back. We have those guys, and we have a couple freshman that are going to play a lot for us, too, that are going to be pretty good.”
The freshman that Hesse was referring to are twins Jacob and Jason Sjuts.
According to Hesse, that duo has been developing a chemistry since they first stepped on the court.
“Those guys kind of know what each other are doing,” he said. “At our jamboree game, one of the twins got a steal and the other one came flying by down the court and he just kind of flipped it to him and off he went for a layup.
“It’s like ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool.’ Sjuts is a really common name here in Humphrey. There’s been a lot of Sjuts and a lot of good athletes were Sjuts, so to have three Sjuts on your basketball team is not too bad.”
With all the returning seniors and new talent, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family has high expectations. Hesse and the rest of the Bulldogs are hoping the be able to play basketball in Lincoln come March.
HLHF was last at state in 2010 and won its only championship in 1987.
“I feel like we have a team that should be competitive in just about every single game we play in,” Hesse said. “My goal for the team is I want to get to a district championship. I want to be in the mix of the state tournament. This group could be good enough, come February, March that it could be top eight in the state.”
In order to achieve those goals, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family plans to speed up its offense and create pressure on defense. The team believes that style of play will lead to victories.
“We are wanting to push the ball more this year. We didn’t get a lot of fast break points last year, and we kind of want to make it easier for ourselves,” Hesse said. “Try to create some of those, and try to tie it in with aggressive defense. We hope to get out and get in people’s faces, make them screw up and go down and capitalize on those mistakes.”
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com