It was not as spectacular a season in terms of wins and losses as Pratt High boys’ basketball has enjoyed in recent years, going 7-15 on the year. But head coach David Swank rightfully points to the amount of improvement his Greenbacks made over the course of the campaign.
“The biggest thing for this group was overall improvement,” Swank pointed out. “For example, at Christmas we were only shooting 55% from the free throw line, but by the end of the year we had raised that to 65%.”
Also, bear in mind that this group of mostly inexperienced hoopsters dropped their seven initial contests, getting off to a tough 0-7 start. From that point on, however, the Frogs played nearly .500 basketball— a 7-8 record down the stretch in itself showing that the team was getting better as the year progressed.
The Greenbacks will miss the contributions of its graduating seniors. Skylar Dean was named a unanimous 1st team all-CKL pick. He averaged 15.5 ppg as the Greenbacks offensive leader. Dean was also a KBCA academic all-state recipient.
Chase Hageman returned to the squad after sitting out his junior year with an injury. He received CKL honorable mention for his efforts. He led the Greenbacks on the glass with 6.7 rebounds per game and was 3rd in scoring average on the team with 9 ppg.
Sharpshooter Garret Smith knocked down 42 3s on the season, one in which he spent considerable time sidelined with injury. Thomas Mayberry as point guard contributed 62 assists to lead the Frogs and was second on the team with 32 steals.
“Each of those kids brought something special to the table: Skylar was our attacker and our leader; Chase developed into a consistent force on the boards for us; Garret could knock down the 3 point shot; and Thomas was a great defender and ball-handler,” Coach Swank said in analyzing his departing seniors’ complementary talents.
There were some high points along the way. The Frogs earned the 3rd place trophy at the St. John Midwinter Classic, the 5th consecutive year they have trophied. They also made it past the opening round of sub-state, again the 5th consecutive time they have pulled that off.
Signature wins included victories over Ness City and Sterling, squads that figured prominently in post-season activity.
Coach Swank may face a similar problem next year as he did this year in that most of his scoring is again graduating. One difference is that there are quite a few lettermen returning next year. Christian Kurz, Drew Dobbs, Josh Shumway, Spencer Sullivan, Shawn Ramos, Liam Kahmeyer and Adam Bartel should all return, and all got many minutes this season. Next year’s group will be a lot more battle-tested than this year’s crew was at the start of the season.
Page 2 of 2 - “A big key going forward will be to find people to step up and score,” Swank said of next year’s prospects. One promising sign for the future of the program is that the JVs went 14-6 on the year and the C team finished at 11-4.
Judged by the standard of improvement, the 2012-13 boys’ basketball season at PHS was a success. @NeilD_Tribune