MASON CITY – In the 2016-17 season, the Mason City boys basketball team put together its best season in 15 years.
The task for Mohawks head coach Nick Trask this season will be to continue the momentum from last year while replacing nearly the entire lineup from his senior-dominated team of a year ago.
“We have a lot of really great athletes but no experience,” Trask said. “It will be about hard work and dedication.”
Dylan Miller, a 6-foot-3 junior, is the top returnee for Trask.
Miller was the fourth-leading scorer and rebounder for Mason City at 5.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
Miller will be counted on for a much greater role, both in scoring and in floor leadership.
“I have a lot of faith in my teammates,” Miller said. “I think we can come out and surprise some people.”
Ben Pappas and Jake Rood also return after seeing considerable court time last season.
Pappas averaged 4.3 points per game while Rood, a three-point shooting specialist, connected on 24 threes and averaged 4.1 points per game.
“We put in a lot of work in the offseason,” Pappas said. “We knew we would have to step up.”
While Trask will not have much game experience on the court, he will have a lot solid athletes.
At 6-5, Ryan Smuck will provide some interior depth, and Jordan Brown, a 6-0 senior guard, will rotate in the back court.
The wild card for the Mohawks may turn out to be Jarvorius Toney.
Toney, a 6-6 junior wing, netted 26 in a preseason scrimmage and will add some needed size and speed to the Mohawk lineup.
One major factor working in Mason City’s favor is that Trask is entering his fourth year at the helm, and he is starting to get some players who have several years of experience with Mohawk system coming down the pipeline.
“We have been building the system since I took over,” Trask said. “We now have 60 boys out with 25 juniors and seniors. It’s nice to see our players trying to figure out our system.”
Mason City will face a road test to open the season as the Mohawks head to Des Moines East to face a Scarlets squad that was 4-19 a season ago.
For the Mohawks, the game may seem like a bit of mirror image as the Scarlets face many of the same challenges that Mason City does, including the loss of three of their top four scorers.