Veteran Tigerhawk squad looks to improve this winter
For the Colfax-Mingo boys basketball team, it's the proverbial "nowhere to go but up."
After an 0-22 season, there's no other option.
Tigerhawk fans didn't have much to cheer about last year, as only one of the team's losses was by fewer than 13 points.
But nevertheless, a big roster and an experienced varsity lineup figures to make Colfax-Mingo an improved squad this winter.
Twenty-six players are out for basketball, including 11 freshmen — which bodes well for the future of the progam. As for the present, six seniors and six juniors return to lead a team that lost two starters to graduation. They were the only two seniors on varsity last year.
The Tigerhawks return four of their top six scorers from last season, which should make their offense a more cohesive and productive unit than the one that managed only 34 points per game last year.
Senior big man Vaughn Wilson (6-foot-7) leads those returning scorers at an even nine points per contest a year ago. He scored 189 points, shooting 42.4 percent from the field and was a 54 percent free-throw shooter (33-of-61). He also led the team with 40 assists, 28 blocks and 8.2 rebounds per game.
Wilson is joined by seniors Trent Pease (5-10) and Austin Yoakum (6-0), each whom averaged 4.2 ppg. Pease is one of the top three-point shooters in the Heart of Iowa Conference, having made 44.1 percent on 26-of-59 attempts. His forte is from beyond the arc, as 59 of his 70 field goal attempts last year were from three-point range. Pease had 20 assists, 25 steals last year, while Yoakum had 23 steals. Fellow senior Byron Johnson (6-4) also figures to start this year after averaging 4.6 ppg last year in 11 games.
Also returning varsity experience are juniors James Stoecker (6-3) and Juan Gonzales (5-9). Stoecker averaged two points and two rebounds per game last year. Other returnees include seniors Joe Taylor (6-3), juniors Nate Smith (6-2), Marcus Tomlonovic (6-1) and Chris Stuva (5-11).
Colfax-Mingo opens its season Tuesday, hosting North Polk at 7:30 p.m.