With seven returning lettermen, five of which have been starters at one time during their playing career, off at team that come within one game of a state tournament trip last year, the Osawatomie Trojan Boys Basketball Team is looking to take the next step and get at taste of the state tournament atmosphere. With all the returning players, Trojans Head Coach Darren Soucie finds it that much easier to get his players on board with the lofty expectations.
“It is always good to have experienced players coming back,” Soucie said. “They already know my expectations and are setting their own expectations on how much they want to improve. We just need to keep improving as the season goes along.”
With returning lettermen, Brendan Soucie, Seth Jones, Dylan Needham, Brandon Oakes, Jacob Vail, Tyler Wright and Daine Needham leading the way, the Trojans are looking to take the next step and go beyond the sub-state championship game, which the Trojans fell short in by a 55-43 score to the Ottawa Cyclones.
“Brendan, Seth, Dylan, Brandon and Jacob have all started before,” Soucie said. “Also looking for playing time are Dustin Kueser, Allen Raymer & Spencer Booe. The season is young but these guys have been together for a while now. They are still learning what they need to do as a team.”
The Trojans will feature a good mix of speed, quickness and height, with Brandon Oakes returning for his sophomore season giving Osawatomie a lightning quick presence on the outside, while Brenden Soucie gives the Trojans a solid presence in the middle, with the ability to step out, and hit not only the medium length jumper but also to go outside the arc and knock down the three pointer.
“We have a great combination of speed and size,” Soucie said. “It will be interesting to see how we match up with other teams in our league and area.”
Maybe the most important thing Soucie sees in his team is their competitiveness, most of these players have just come off a successful, Pioneer League Championship Football season, and they are ready to transition that success to the basketball court.
“This is a competitive group of players,” he said. “They want to win at everything they do. What’s nice about it is they work together and don’t get caught up in selfish play.”
As can be expected, with a group of players who have been around the block together, and who are naturally competitive, spirited practices are the norm rather than the exception.
“We have had some really good, competitive times in practice,” Soucie said. “It’s still early, so we have a lot to improve on, but the kids keep working hard, so I know the team will keep getting better.”
In the final analysis, Soucie says the keys to success for this year’s Trojan squad are relatively simple.
“We need to play as a team, both offensively and defensively,” he said. “We have to take good shots, be disruptive on defense and own the boards.”
With the mix of players at his disposal, if Soucie is able to get his squad to embrace these points of emphasis, the dream of playing is Salina in March may just come true for this year’s Trojan team.
Trojans have speed, size, experience