A new basketball season and lots of questions greet Cedaredge High School's Craig Cerise who coaches the boys team. Last year's Bruins had 14 players to work with on the varsity team and this year's total team (varsity/JV) number is 16.
The Bruins have three seniors listed on their varsity roster with three juniors and five sophomores. Cedaredge's junior varsity team will share five of its 10 players with the varsity.
This year's varsity roster includes seniors Peter Sandels, Jared Reynolds and Bradley Callenius. Sandels and Reynolds are returners from last season and will provide some leadership for the young Bruins.
Junior varsity players are Owen Craig, Fabian Barron and Damon Hudson. Craig and Barron are returning from last season's team.
The sophomore players on this year's varsity roster include Isaac Blair, Colby Rupp, Alex Barron, Jacob Brown and Conner Brooks.
There are 12 freshmen who have been practicing for starting roles.
Cedaredge graduated six seniors last year and lack game experience as a team. Cerise, in his third season at Cedaredge (sixth overall as a head coach) will rely on assistants Mike Dallas (third season) and Nate Hawkins (second season) to mold the Bruins into successful teams.
Reynolds will be a go-to-guy for the Bruins who has the most game experience on this year's team.
Look for the Bruins to improve each game as they mesh together for more consistency throughout the season.
Cerise believes Coal Ridge is one of the teams the 3A WSL teams will have to beat in 2018-19. "They return some of the best players and have the history of having a team that competes at the state level."
The other team Cerise sees as a threat is Delta's Panthers, where Cerise coached a few seasons ago. "Delta has a lot of returning players, including a few from a very competitive junior varsity team from a year ago."
Despite a rebuilding year Cerise has optimism for the coming season. "I look for my team to compete each week and give maximum effort. The team will be pretty young, but very athletic. We have a senior in Jared Reynolds who is a great leader and competitor, and he plays very well with his teammates. A lot of what happens this season will depend on whether our new contributors can step in and play consistent basketball."
The Bruins began their season at the Vail Christian tournament with games against Vail Mountain (Nov. 30) and Battle Mountain on Dec. 1.
The Bruins were winners in their first game against Vail Mountain, 61-44, on Friday and lost to Battle Mountain on Saturday, 71-37, in the tournament's title game.
Reynolds was the big producer offensively for the Bruins with 27 points against Vail Mountain and 13 in Saturday's game against Battle Mountain.
A huge first half, 44 points, gave Battle Mountain the advantage it needed after a 44-10 lead at the break. The Bruins could not recover in the second half with each team scoring 27 points.
Sophomore Colby Rupp scored 14 points on Friday and yanked down eight rebounds for the Bruins in their win.
Cedaredge continues its season in Nucla this Saturday, Dec. 8, with varsity games scheduled for the girls at 12:30 and 2 p.m for the boys.