Success breeds more success
Confidence builds in 16-8 season
Basketball players aren’t built between November and March. It takes plenty of work outside the season to excel on the court.
Similarly, above-average teams don’t just fall together amid the season’s 24 games.“We did a lot of work as a team over the summer and we built on the success we had last year,” said coach Roger Koehler. “The seniors from last year bought into the system and this year’s seniors have followed that example. We hope the younger players will carry on.”
The Swedes had their best start to the year since the 1980s with a six-game win streak to set the tone for a 16-8 finish.
“The kids played with a lot of confidence and they were having fun,” Koehler said. “I think that’s the whole point.”
The Gothenburg boys gathered more than wins along the way. They set a couple of new team records.
The one Koehler is most proud of is the defensive effort which allowed the fewest points per game in school history at 44.25.
“I tell the players everyone can play defense, it takes guts and heart,” he said. “They definitely showed both.”
The Swedes also set a new high mark for rebounds in a season with 793, considering individual rebounds and those attributed to the team. Senior Korey Ahlenstorf led the team with 195 rebounds.
Junior Logan Koehler had an incredible 57 blocked shots to pace the Swedes to a record 97 team blocks this season. He also set a new career block mark with 95.
“His height, long arms and athleticism also play a big part in the number of blocks he has accumulated,” the coach said. “It will be nice to have him back for one more year.”
Senior Brett Dockweiler also set personal records, making 51 three-point shots for the most in a season and rounding out his career with a 84% free throw percentage.
“Brett is a player who has put in a lot of time shooting and working to get better at that aspect of his game,” Koehler said. “His outside shooting was a great part to the success of our team this year.”
The coach said he believes the Swedes have proven they can be successful in basketball.
“Somebody told me when I took over this program that Gothenburg is not a basketball school,” he said. “I don’t know why we can’t be successful in all areas.”
The foundation is there, Koehler said. Now younger players can be expected to keep building on it.
“We’re going to lose a lot with eight seniors graduating,” Koehler said. “Whether they were on the court or on the bench their morale and attitude has made a huge difference.”
At the same time, he said, there are experienced players who will return to the court with renewed desire to improve.
“They have the ability to continue to lead us in the right direction,” he said.