Basketball team has a bond that extends beyond the court

Brandon Kirchner, Staff Writer

After a very successful 2015-2016 season campaign the Rolla Bulldogs lost four key seniors that lit up their offense. Sophomore Jonathan “Blaize” Klossner plays Point Guard for the Rolla Basketball Team.

“We just need to be able to all fill our roles and really just do our job, losing the four seniors who really brought some firepower to our offense. We really need some younger guys and seniors to step up and we just need to be team oriented and not focus individually on our goals,” Klossner said.

Basketball is a difficult sport to compete in and requires a lot more energy and dedication than some other sports. Junior Josh Pritchett plays small forward for the Rolla Basketball Team.

“I’ve played basketball a lot longer than all the others sports I play. I started when I was like in second grade and just kept on playing up until now. I’ve put in a lot more work in basketball than anything else,” Pritchett said.

The pre-game moments are some of the most important, it gives the players the time they need to get their head in the game. Junior Aaron Cunningham plays Forward for the Rolla Basketball Team

“I mean everyone has their own little ritual or whatever but all I do is take two little energy pills and I’m golden for the rest of the night,” Cunningham said

Over half way through the season the Rolla Bulldogs have a solid record. However the second part of the season is more critical to a team’s success.

“Right now we are just taking one game at a time, 1-0 each game we are not worried about what is happening later on, I think this team has potential to go anywhere from losing in the first round to winning a state championship. It just depends on where our minds are at,” Klossner said.

The Rolla 6th Man has been an avid part of the team going to home games and even some away, the effect it has on the players is really uplifting.

“I mean when they are around it is always loud. It makes it look like there are a lot more people in the crowd then there actually is. A lot of times you look up into the crowd there is not a lot of people but then you look at the section and it’s just packed and everyone is having fun, jumping around, whatever it is. It gives you a lot more energy to play,” Cunningham said.

Last basketball season was one of the best seasons in school history and it will take a lot to recreate that same success. Head Coach Mark Miller has coached the Rolla Basketball team for a long time now.

“Well, that’s a challenge right there. Last season was one of the best seasons in school history so it’s quite a tall order to be able to try to match something like that. But the guys we got coming back have blended together really well and play well together as a team. They work hard, they are very coachable and although we haven’t had quite the same success from the last couple of years we definitely are a solid basketball team,” Miller said.

Losing the senior classmen from the last basketball season has affected the basketball team in different ways.

“It will be a different look, it definitely is a different look from what we had last year it’s a very well-balanced team the guys work well together. Nick Janke is stepping into a bigger role, as is Josh Pritchett, Zach Burns and Brandon Cunningham. Those are four leaders for us that we need to get a lot out of,” Miller said.