Hotchkiss basketball coach Kyle Crowder is expecting a lot of good things from juniors Andrew Tiedeman, Wesley Hardin and River Panish this season. He'll need the experience after the Bulldogs lost six seniors last season.
Hotchkiss has two seniors this season, Chris Allen and Danny Camacho.
"We definitely have a lot of good young kids, really good juniors," said Crowder. "That junior class is definitely the meat of the team."
The Bulldogs posted a 12-8 record last year, but ended on a bad note after they were routed in district competition by Paonia. "We were lacking in leadership," said Crowder. "That was the defining thing. We need somebody to be a leader on the floor. I think we're going to have a little bit more of that leadership this year."
Allen is a 6-foot-5-inch post player who played his first competitive basketball game a year ago. A wide receiver for the Bulldogs football team, he took up the sport his junior year as a way to improve his football game. He started the season on JV and ended the season as a key defensive player and rebounder on varsity.
Two new sophomores, Jaden Simpson and Cesar Gonzalez, join the team. "He's just a really good athlete," said Crowder of Simpson. "He's going to be a really good player for us."Gonzalez was the starting pitcher for the Bulldogs his freshman year, but didn't go out for basketball. "He's got a lot of speed," said Crowder. "A lot of natural ability."
With a total of 30 players out for the team, the Bulldogs can fill all three teams this season.
Head football coach Zac Lemon returns as C team coach in 2013-14.
The Bulldogs will share duties for the JV as there is no true junior varsity coach, said Crowder, but the team isn't lacking in volunteer coaches. Steve Allen (father of Chris Allen), Gates Shaklee, who was JV coach two years ago, and Derrick Smith will work with the team as their schedules allow.
Smith is new to the area and played in college at an NAIA school. Crowder called Smith "a good addition. He just loves the sport and wanted to get involved."
Taylor Schreiner, an all-conference first-team player last season, returns to help coach his former teammates.
Hotchkiss opened the season Tuesday night against Ridgway. Results weren't available at press time. "They're a proud team with a lot of tradition," said Crowder. "They come in and play hard."
Hotchkiss will open the Delta County Invitational tournament on Dec. 20 against Delta. The Panthers defeated Hotchkiss last year to win the tournament.
"I think the DCI is open this year," said Crowder. "I think it's going to be an interesting tournament."blog comments powered by Disqus