Sports
Eight letter winners return to the court

Ellsworth Boys Basketball Preview

The Ellsworth boys basketball team is the only roster in the entire preview section that has not played a game yet to begin the 2021-22 season. Last season, Ellsworth finished the season 9-11 overall, a season that ended against Altoona in the regional playoff bracket.

Now, head coach Jordan Petersen is trying to continue improving the basketball team each day, and if that happens, he will be happy with wherever the chips may fall at the end of the year. He spoke about this basketball season.

“We are returning an experienced group after losing three seniors from last year,” Petersen said. “The majority of our varsity will be made up of juniors and seniors. We return two, twoyear starters and one, one-year starter. Overall, we return eight letter winners.”

Petersen also provided a more in-depth answer regarding what players will be the impact players this season as Ellsworth tries to get back to over .500 for the season. Some of the most notable include Jack Janke, who had a great season last year, not to mention playing quarterback for a team that went to a football state title game.

“We return three starters from last year in Jack Janke, Spencer Schultz and Tanner Pechacek and all will play a critical role in our success,” Petersen said. “Jack (Janke) was our second-leading scorer last year at 16.5 points per game and earned second-team all-conference. He really came on towards the end of the year and was a key to our end-of-year success. Alex Coulthard, Sam Kollbaum, Kaden Schommer, Jurell Gooden and Carson Nugent round out the returning players and look to contribute in multiple ways.”

Last season was interesting for Ellsworth to say the least. They had a season that consisted of peaks and valleys that ultimately led to the nearly .500 record in the overall standings.

“Last season was definitely an interesting year with changes to games and who could be playing each game,” Petersen said. “We had a bit of an up and down year, but we were playing our best basketball at the end of the year, winning three out of our last four games and taking the #1 team in our region down to the wire and losing by five. The players and I learned a lot and hopefully, we can take what we learned and apply it to this season.”

One of the most important aspects to improving year after year is a solid, consistent coaching staff. Petersen talked about the people he will be coaching with this season.

“Christian Lahr and James Georgakas will be our JV and C-team coaches this season,” Petersen said. “Both have coached with our program before, so it’s nice to have some continuity with our coaching staff that the players know and enjoy playing for.”

The reason that the Ellsworth boys basketball team hasn’t been on the same schedule as other local teams is because the football team made it to the state title game. So, that pushed the season back two weeks for the basketball team – which is a good problem to have for any local school.

Ellsworth gets its season underway on Tuesday, Dec. 7, at home against the undefeated Prescott Cardinals. That game is slated to begin at 7 p.m.

The 2021-22 Ellsworth Panthers boys basketball team. Photo courtesy of Amber Jean Photography

December 7, 2021