Men’s basketball ready for new season, coach

The CFHS men’s basketball team is filled with fresh faces everywhere you look. The Tigers have something to prove this season with just one returning starter and a new man running the show. 2013 Mississippi Valley Conference coach of the year Tom Bardal resigned this offseason and assistant coach Ryan Schultz was handed the responsibility of getting the Tigers back to the state tournament.

Coach Schultz has been the assistant coach under Bardal for the last five seasons after being the head coach of the sophomore team. He has plenty of experience with Cedar Falls as he is one of the school’s all time leaders in career assists. After graduating from Cedar Falls he went on to play collegiate basketball at Wartburg College.

Schultz will face a great deal of adversity this season with only four varsity members back from a year ago. Junior Keeon Johnson is the lone starter to return and will be counted on as a go to guy this year. “I’m excited to help my team in any way, and I’ll do whatever it takes to get the win,” Johnson said.

Former sophomore coach Chris Dyvig will take over Schultz’s former assistant position.

The Tigers return seniors Lewis Mickey and Jared Deines as well as juniors Johnson and Durrell Jackson. Junior Drew Marchesani and sophomore Jacob Leisinger also got valuable experience as they got to practice and travel with the team throughout their state tournament run.

With senior big man Kyle Boomgarden out for one-two months with an ankle injury, Cedar Falls will have to rely on the transition game and outside shooting particularly from Marchesani, Deines and Johnson. In their final preseason tune up against Dike-New Hartford, over 60 percent of the Tigers points came from beyond the three-point arc.

Marchesani led the scoring for the Tigers against D-NH and is excited to light it up from deep this season. “The coaches give me a lot of confidence to pull the trigger. I’m looking for my shot more this year, and I’m always ready to shoot.”

The season tips off in Decorah on Dec. 6 before returning home to play Waterloo East in the home opener. With a sense of unfamiliarity indulged in the program, there is something to prove in Cedar Falls, and the basketball team is eager to do so.

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