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Iowa prep boys basketball: Sheldon suits up again after historic season

Alex Purdy

Daily Globe 

SHELDON, Iowa — There’s a lot of pressure on the Sheldon Orabs boys’ basketball team this winter. Besides finishing with a strong record of 25-3 in 2012-13, they were also the Class 2A state champions.

The Orabs are returning three letter winners from last year’s championship squad, including junior Collin Wothizen, junior Dylan Ennema and senior Hunter McDonald.

“We feel that we are a good team who will be able to shoot pretty well. We have five or six guys we feel confident with from the perimeter,” Sheldon coach Eric Maassen said. “We also can be good defensively as a team.”

The Orabs will have some tough competition this year, with Sioux Center returing four of their five starters from last year and a tough Central Lyon team waiting in the wings.

The Orabs opened their season Tuesday against Sibley-Ocheydan, winning 48-39 despite trailing 23-18 at halftime.

Here’s a brief look at some other northwest Iowa teams:

George-Little Rock

An experienced returning core is what George-Little Rock head boys’ basketball coach Curt Schilling will have to make his boys more competitive after posting a 3-19 record a season ago.

“We have a nice core of seniors, and we’re hoping to build off of that,” Schilling said. “We’re looking forward to putting a better team out there on the court this year.

Returning lettermen for the Mustangs include seniors Jesse Koerselman, Tanner Ver Steeg and Austin Hayenga, and the lone junior is Jake Hilbrands.

Ver Steeg will definitely be a workhorse for the Mustangs. Last year, the senior averaged 17 points a game, and Schilling hopes to continue that.

“Ver Steeg is a guy we look to. He really handles the ball well. When he’s in the paint, he’s tough to defend. This year, we are hoping to keep that going and let him play his game,” Schilling said.

The Mustangs opened their season Tuesday in Okoboji, winning 66-54.

Conference-wise, Schilling hopes this year they will be more competitive.

“We play in a pretty tough conference, but there are a lot of games to be had this year. If we play and practice hard, we’ll do well.”

Harris-Lake Park

The Harris-Lake Park Wolves have a lot of holes to fill. They lost four key seniors in Colin Brons, Kade Heikens, Eli Ihnen and Tanner Hiveley. Those four accounted for most of H-LP’s success, and included the top three rebounders and assist-getters, and ultimately, the top scorers.

However, head varsity coach Jeff Sohn isn’t too worried about his team’s lack of experience.

“We’ve lost a lot this year,” Sohn said. “At times we will look like a good team, and at other times we might look like a bad one. But I know as the season progresses we will look better and better. The guys have really been working hard for the past two weeks.”

A recent addition to the Wolves came from Round Lake in the form of Cole Bosma.

“Cole will be a huge addition to our team,” Sohn said.

The Wolves opened their season Tuesday against Estherville-Lincoln Center, losing 74-61.


The Generals are coming off of a tough 2-21 season, a season in which the team had to replace their entire starting lineup.

This year, in head coach Ryan Wiersma’s second year at the helm, the Generals are bringing back five lettermen, including three starters. Those starters are senior Grant Juber, the leading scorer on the team last year, senior Dalton Frick, the best defensive player on the team, and Devin Vander Veen, the 6-7 post player who provides most of the size for S-O.

The only other returning players for the Generals are senior Ty Hanna and sophomore Carson Marco.

“We want to be more competitive this year,” Wiersma said. “We want to play to the end and have a chance to win some games at the end. The kids have had great attitudes.”