Titans kick-off 2021-22 season in Dakota Valley: Titan boys poised with size & speed
In his third year as head coach of the Tea Area High School boys’ basketball team, Drew Weber is ready to lead his team on the court for the 2020-2021 season.
Weber, who has been coaching for nine years, has compiled a 29-15 record while at Tea Area and has a 117-57 all time record. Last year, Tea Area finished with a 14-8 record but lost Garrett Kolbeck, Austin Lake, and Caden Ellingson to graduation. The team also lost Blake Thompson, starting point guard, who is out for the season after Lisfranc surgery.
“We will be replacing four of our top seven guys from last year, but we feel like we have enough quality players to cobble together a consistent lineup,” said Weber. “Losing Thompson is a tough blow, so finding a guy to play point guard and do everything that requires on our team is focal point #1. If we can find someone to fill that role, we will have a good chance to be there at the end of the season.”
The team welcomes back starters Cael Lundin and Jeff Worth. Lundin averaged 18.9 points per game last season and Worth averaged 10 points per game.
Also making an impact on the team will be Reis Kirschenman, a 6’4” junior who saw significant playing time last season. Cole Shilling, a 6’7” senior, will also look to help the Titans this season along with seniors Alex Pies, Gabe Grant and Klayton Sattler. All three should give the team some nice size as Sattler sands at 6’5” and Pies and Grant both at 6’3”. Senior Jaxon Weber and juniors Jonah Kocer and Jackson Smythe will also look to give the Titans an edge this season along with sophomore Sam Almas who averaged 14.7 points per game last year on the C-team. Also on the team this year will be seniors Eric Munson, Eddie Unruh and sophomores Jessen Wiebenga and Garrett Wiebenga.
Weber is happy with his team’s size and speed and pleased to see the larger number of athletes out with 50 total players among the ninth through 12th grade. He is concerned that with the loss of Thompson someone will have to play out of position and Lundin, Worth, and Kirschenman are the only players with major varsity experience.
With the football season ending deep into November this season, it also makes for a short turnaround for some athletes and Weber noted they are dealing with a number of injuries already.
But the team will look to be ready as the 2021-22 season begins this Friday, Dec. 10 as they travel to take on Dakota Valley.
Dakota Valley is just one of the teams on Weber’s radar this year. He also looks for Sioux Falls Christian, Vermillion, St. Thomas More, Sioux Valley, Lakota Tech, Dell Rapids, Lennox and West Central to all be strong contenders this season.
“Like past years, we will play the toughest schedule around. This schedule puts the pressure on us to show up every night, but makes us a much better team come postseason time,” said Weber.
On Dec. 17 the Titans will travel to Dell Rapids before holding their home opener on Thursday, Dec. 30 when they take on Sioux Falls O’Gorman in a 3 p.m. game.
Weber is assisted this season by Keith Cutler, Clay Robinson and Jordan Rausch.