Boys basketball: Broomfield hoping to reload after mass departures

JEREMY PAPASSO
Alec McLain will be one of the few experienced players for the Broomfield boys basketball team this season.

BROOMFIELD — The key thing every high school coach must learn is that everything is cyclical.

You have your good years and you have the ones where graduation hits harder than usual. Those few that don’t care simply rely on the strength of the program to reload instead of rebuild.

Sure, the month of December will be a jelling process for Terrence Dunn and the new-look Broomfield boys basketball team, but it would be a poor assumption to think the Eagles won’t be right back in the mix.

“We always seem to get good classes and come back and be successful the next year,” said Dunn, who graduated nine seniors off his 2012-13 state semifinalist that went 22-5 and won the Northern League by two games. “It’s something we are used to dealing with, but we certainly don’t have as much experience coming back as we did before.”

That is a mild understatement. Gone is leading scorer and rebounder Spenser Reeb. So, too, is the nifty passing of Evan Kihn as well as Chad Jukkala, Dan Perse and Parker Ericson. Those five saw a majority of time last season, leaving big shoes to fill for the five guys on the varsity roster that got limited time.

Senior Alec McLain, who just came of a successful year at quarterback for the Eagles football team, was third on the team in scoring last year at 11.3 points per game and Dunn and his staff will lean heavily on his 6-foot-4 frame to provide the scoring.

If anything, Dunn’s squad will not be lacking in size. His starting five that will debut on Tuesday night against Legacy should be Logan McCormick (6-0), Payton Holloway (6-0), Jake Morris (6-3), Michael Wristen (6-5) and McLain. Dunn is also excited about two sophomores coming off the bench, Nate Lehnerz (6-3) and Noah Dohn (6-2).

“We definitely got some size and even from this summer they have gotten bigger and stronger,” Dunn said. “That’s the one thing with having young teams is that they change and hopefully they change for the better.

“Michael played a key role in football and Jake Morris won a state title in cross country (team) and we have a lot of kids who have had success in other sports and that should carry over to the basketball court as well.”

The Eagles haven’t talked too much about the impending move to Class 5A next season and will go about their business as usual. Their December schedule will give them a taste of life in the big school ranks, not only against Legacy, but also with dates against Abraham Lincoln, Lakewood and Liberty to start the Fairview Festival.

“We are about being successful and we have played 5A teams a lot, over the summer and last year we were 4-2 against them and the losses were to Highlands Ranch and Fairview,” Dunn said. “It’s something that we are not going to talk about a whole lot, but we know we are going to have to raise our level of play to play in 5A.”

The final run through the 4A Northern League this year will be anything but a cakewalk. Dunn points to Thompson Valley, which Broomfield beat by a combined four points in two games last season, as their biggest threat to the league title. Longmont was the only team to beat the Eagles in league play a season ago and Greeley Central is always a tough out, especially in Greeley.

Dunn is confident that his team will respond to the challenge and knows that even though it is basically a new roster from an outsider’s perspective, that the name on the front of the uniform carries a lot of weight, too.

“There is high expectations here, and there is high expectations for the kids and the coaches,” Dunn said. “And the kids know that, they know the success we’ve had. We talk about how the program is bigger than any one person and the program has been successful long before I got here and will be successful after I leave. They know that they are accepting the position of being a part of a tradition and they know that their actions and their choices are perpetuating that tradition.

“They are working hard to keep that tradition going.”

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