Panthers use 2022-23 season as stepping stone for upcoming season
By Jacob Heid
STEVENS POINT — A mix of returning and new faces fill the SPASH boys’ basketball roster for the upcoming season.
The coaching staff saw growth last season, and even after losing three starters in the rotation, the returning players can use the 14-11 (9-3) 2022-23 season as a stepping stone to improve for 2023-24.
Head Coach Jon Krull says it’s still early, but he sees the potential heading into the year.
“We built a lot of experience last year. We played a lot of sophomores and juniors,” Krull stated. “I like what we have so far. Now, we have to put the time in and get the season off on the right foot.”
Junior Grant Chandonais led the Panthers in scoring as a sophomore at 18.7 PPG.
Chandonais comes back, along with junior Baraka Makali, who didn’t play the 2022-23 season, bringing a sense of leadership to the team for players looking to get a spot in the rotation.
“[Chandonais] and Baraka have been a part of this program for two years already coming into their junior year,” Krull explained. “The season that Grant had, I expect a lot more growth from him, especially in that leadership position because he’s been through it. He knows what we’re trying to do.”
SPASH finished tied for second in the Wisconsin Valley Conference last season.
Being inside the top five in team field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, rebounds, assists and free throws, Krull expects the team to be competitive again.
Winning the conference is the annual goal for the Panthers.
“This year will be the same thing with the conference play. It’s going to be tough to win games on the road, and you’ve got to protect your home-court advantage,” Krull said. “We want to compete and want to be, you know, right there towards the end of the season to have a chance to win a conference title. That’s kind of our first box, you know, that we are able to check off at some point hopefully in the season.”
The Panthers get the season rolling with a scrimmage on Monday, Nov. 20, at Sun Prairie High School.
SPASH opens its impressive regular season schedule with a game at Bay Port on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 7:15 p.m.