WARRENSBURG - This could be the year that fans have been anticipating for years.
The Burgher basketball team has some highly skilled players returning who live and breathe basketball, have worked together for many years, including Seniors Brendan Frye, Mike Perrone, Dante Siletti. Jason Power, and Ben Nicols.
They've got an attuned court sense, honed athletic intuition and reflexes, and a rhythm of play that powers them past their competition.
They've got decent height, an aggressive approach and a good work attitude in addition to their renowned ball-handling skills and unselfish no-superstar approach.
Sic-foot-four Center Ryan Belden, a Junior, not only gives the team height - a rarity for Warrensburg - but he's gotten more aggressive. Classmate Mike Curtis is more powerful than ever, and he'll be vital on both sides of the ball, as he's been in football.
All's rosy in Burgher town, right?
Not necessarily. This "dream team" has experienced a rash of injuries, so at least the beginning of the 2009-10 season may be rough.
Curtis is mending a collarbone that was broken during football season. Nicols' leg was broken in football also, and it's still healing.
Topping it off, Perrone rolled ankle badly in practice last week, and perhaps has incurred a torn ligament.
Perrone and Curtis are powerhouse players, Nicols is a big inside force, and Power has talent to spare.
If all mend quickly and if the injuries serve to solidify their resolve, the team should be creating memories this year for the Burgher fans.
This year, the stars are back, and they're aligned.
With Brendan Frye weaving through the downcourt traffic like magic, Perrone's staunch defense and lightning no-look passes, Curtis' well-executed jumpshots and three pointers, it should be a year full of exciting play.
Fans will see the Varsity debut of John Joseph and Nick Monroe, who apparently have promise, and Hunter Werner, who proved himself as an exceptional receiver this year in football, and coaches are anticipating that his ball-handling skills will prove themselves on the hardwoods as well.
Last year's 8-13 record included several games that were lost by only a few points due to some unanticipated breaks, and errors forced by more seasoned squads, Coach Rich Schloss said.
"Last year, we had inexperience which caused a lot of turnovers and unforced errors," Schloss said. "If we keep those errors down and make our foul shots, we'll win a lot of games this year."
The squad is not only loaded with talent, but the players are all friends who have spent countless hours playing sports together, and they have positive attitudes and a strong work ethic, Schloss said.
"Well be focusing on one game at a time and keeping on improving," he said. "We're looking forward to a winning season, and we should be very competitive."