Crubelshoot

River Ridge’s Braden Crubel shoots during a game last season. Crubel is one of many key players back this season for the Timberwolves as they look to repeat as Six Rivers West Conference champs.

Here is a capsule look at local teams in the Six Rivers West Conference this season:

BELMONT

Coach — Mitch Austin

Last year — 4-18, 0-12 Six Rivers West

Key players — Waylon Palzkill (6-2, Sr.), Tyler Simmons (Jr.), Casin Carey (6-1, Jr.), Ty Palzkill (6-3, Sr.), Logan Hardyman (6-0, Soph.)

Outlook — After a two-year hiatus, Austin is back as head coach for the Braves. Brothers Waylon (17.8 ppg) and Ty (9.4 ppg) Palzkill are back as the team’s leading scorers and should create problems for defenses as the Braves look to improve on last season’s 0-12 record in the Six Rivers West.

BENTON

Coach — David Neis (third year)

Last year — 9-9, 5-7 Six Rivers West

Key players — Rex Blaine (6-4, Jr.), Chad Haffele (5-9, Jr.), Nate Lawrence (5-10, Jr.), Jackson Klang (5-11, Sr.)

Outlook — The Zephyrs will have to make up for the loss of leading scorer Dominic Cummins (19.2 ppg), but have Rex Blaine (11.9 ppg) and Chad Haffele (9.8 ppg) back to pick up the offense. Team speed and athleticism will be strengths of this year’s team, but lack of experience could be a factor in a competitive Six Rivers.

CASSVILLE

Coach — Jacob Bernetzke (eighth year)

Last year — 10-12, 5-7 Six Rivers West

Key players — Robby Roe (5-11, Sr.), Raz Okey (6-0, Jr.), Cody Klein (6-0, Sr.), Drew Bendorf (5-10, Sr.), Jonah Vogt (6-1, Sr.), Eli Adams (5-9, Soph.)

Outlook — The Comets return a great deal of experience with four of their five starters back, including leading scorers Robby Roe (17.5 ppg) and Raz Okey (11.3 ppg), but a lack of size remains a concern for Coach Bernetzke.

POTOSI

Coach — Mike Uppena (20th year)

Last year — 9-9, 7-5 Six Rivers West

Key players — Logan Uppena (6-3, Sr.), Sam Udelhofen (5-11, Jr.), Levi Groom (6-0, Sr.), Gavin Wunderlin (6-3, Soph.), Brad Perry (6-1, Sr.), Connor McKillip (5-9, Sr.), Joe Vogelsberg (5-11, Sr.), Dayton Udelhofen (5-11, Jr.)

Outlook — Leading scorers Sam Udelhofen (14.4 ppg) and Gavin Wunderlin (10.2 ppg) will be joined by an experienced supporting cast, with just one starter lost to graduation. Size and athleticism will be strengths for the Chieftains, who finished tied for second in the conference race last season.

RIVER RIDGE

Coach — Tom Neises (third year)

Last year — 22-1, 12-0 Six Rivers West

Key players — David Nies (6-5, Sr.), Logan Drone (6-3, Sr.), Braden Crubel (6-1, Jr.), Ian Adrian (6-0, Sr.), Will Cooley (5-10, Sr.), Matthew Nies (6-5, Soph.), Owen Hamilton (6-1, Sr.), Anthony Davis (6-3, Jr.), Bryr Clark (5-8, Sr.), Carter Bausch (6-0, Sr.)

Outlook — The Wolves will be looking for a three-peat as conference champs with its nucleus from last year’s 22-1 team back. Guard Braden Crubel (16.4 ppg) and forward David Nies (10.6 ppg) will provide a solid inside-out punch, and they will be backed by seniors Logan Drone (8.7 ppg), Ian Adrian (4.3 ppg) and Will Cooley (4 ppg).

SHULLSBURG

Coach — Zach Wedige (first year)

Last year — 12-9, 7-5 Six Rivers West

Key players — Heath Poppy (6-0, Soph.), Jackson Jerry (5-9, Sr.), Luke Unbehaun (6-1, Sr.), Evan Edge (5-10, Sr.), Kaile Scott (6-5, Sr.)

Outlook — Wedige takes over as head coach for the Miners, and will have just one returning starter in sophomore Heath Poppy (6.1 ppg). The Miners will be a young and inexperienced team after losing the majority of their scoring contributors, but energy and attitude will give the team something to build on.

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