By Kelsie Hoitomt
BOYCEVILLE — The Boyceville boys basketball team finished last season with a bit of a black eye after losing in the first round of Regional play and ending 3-13 in the conference.
This year, however, they look to be a strong conference contender in the Dunn-St. Croix with six seniors leading the Bulldogs on the court for the 2014-15 season.
Their experience and time spent playing together on the court could potentially lead them down the path of their 2012-13 season, which had them playing in the Regional final game.
Those seniors are Sam Hellmann, Mitch Leach, Justin Schultz, Tyler Draeger, Jake McIntyre and Hunter Anderson.
Also bringing experience to the team are returning players Buddy Hanestad, Kiel Anderson, Micadin Kahl, Dante Marlett, and Kyle Marlett.
Newcomers to the team this year are Bryce Boda, Hunter Spenle, Urs Kahlmann, Bryce Larson, Cooper Boesl, Logan Knudtson and John Chamberlain.
Also new to the team this season are coaches Ben Luer and Brent Klefstad. Ben has taken the position of head coach for the Bulldogs and Klefstad will be assisting.
Ben grew up in Wasilla, Alaska, which is where his parents had teaching careers. He eventually moved back to the area and attended and graduated from UW-Stout.
He currently works at the Center for Independent Living of Western Wisconsin as a resource counsel and teaches part time at UW-Stout as an adjunct professor.
Ben shared that his wife, Becky is from Knapp so he is very familiar with the Boyceville area.
He has many years of basketball experience as well as time spent as a player and as a coach.
As for Klefstad, he is not a new face to the program as he has been many years in Boyceville working for the school district. He is currently the Director of Building and Grounds.
“Coach Klefstad and myself will bring positive, enthusiastic and disciplined energy to our basketball program, and we will try to instill an ‘always compete’ mentality,” said Luer.
Coach Luer stated that he plans to build the basketball program around a “team” concept.
“I believe that individual goals will be taken care of by the team’s success,” explained Luer. “Our team is built on mental and physical preparation that is developed in the off season and practices.”
The Bulldogs’ season will begin on Tuesday, December 2 with a game at home against Bruce. They will then play their first conference game on Thursday (Dec. 4) in Spring Valley; both are set to begin at 7:30 p.m.