Defense key for Greyhounds

NEW ULM – The New Ulm Cathedral boy’s basketball team begins a new season with a new head coach in Alan Woitas and an emphasis on defense.

Woitas replaces Paul Hazuka, who resigned after last season.

“We are excited to get this new season started,” said Jacob Gangelhoff, who, along with Brandon Beranek and Collin Helget, are starters back from last year’s 5-17 team. “We want to work hard on defense – that is where we win our ballgames. And on offense we really want to push the ball up court.”

Gangelhoff said the team is changing up some things and tweaking other aspects.

“We are changing up our defense and offense a little bit,” Gangelhoff said. “And we are going to have to learn as we go along in the season. We do not have that much experience.”

Woitas said he wants to bring consistency to the program.

“We are not changing a whole lot that has been here,” Woitas said. “On offense we are going to look and get out in transition especially with the team that we have. We feel that we can run the floor a little bit when the opportunity presents itself. But we want to be a real solid defensive team.”

Woitas, who is also the activities director at Cathedral, said the Greyhounds did establish those things past few years.

“But we know that we want to be a good defensive team and a good rebounding team,” Woitas said. “And that is where it all starts for us.”

With just three srarters back, Woitas knows that players who saw limited playing time last year may well be called upon for more quality minutes in the 2013-14 campaign.

“Michael Skillings played a little last year as a freshman, Alex Guggisberg and Gabe Knowles each saw some time as sophomores,” Woitas said. “So we do have experience coming back. We have a small senior class – Josh Dove is our only senior and he provides leadership for us in practice.”

But the Greyhounds have a big junior class of seven as well as nine sophomores.

“A lot of them will be competing for spots as starters,” Woitas said. “That will mean constant competition throughout the year, which is a positive thing to have.”

Woitas’ short-term goal for the Greyhounds in their early games is to make extra passes on offense to expose the best shot possible.

“We need to have good shot selection, limit our turnovers and play solid defense throughout the year,” Woitas said.

Woitas feels that the Tomahawk Conference will be balanced this year.

“I am not sure if there is a clear-cut favorite right now,” Woitas said. “I would like to see us compete in all of our conference games – that is our goal right now.”

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