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Bulldogs looking at returners to lead inexperienced group

Press File Photo Bowman County senior Tanner Fischer, left, pulls up for a jump shot against a Heart River defender during last year’s District 13 tournament on Feb. 16 at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

There isn’t too much experience returning for the Bowman County boys basketball team.

After graduating six seniors from last season, the Bulldogs have two returners with substantial varsity experience.

Nonetheless, Bowman County second-year head coach Steve Shahan said the team has continually shown improvements each day in practice.

“The boys have worked extremely hard and they’ve shown a lot of improvement throughout the first few weeks of practice,” he said. “We have to get a little bit better every single day. That’s our rallying cry.”

Though the Bulldogs are pleased with the way practice is going thus far, they are itching to play their first game of the season.

Bowman County opens its season at the Roughrider Tournament at Knights of Columbus Activities Center against New England at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

“As a whole, our entire region lost a ton of really talented athletes from last year,” Shahan said. “It’s that time of year where everyone is excited to get out and see each other play. We want to see what we have and what the other schools are bringing to the table as well. Right now, it’s what you saw a little bit in the summer. I know every coach hopes their team got a lot better since the summer time.”

The two returning Bulldogs with varsity experience are senior Tanner Fischer and junior Chandler Braaten.

The rest of Bowman County’s roster includes seniors Erik Bloomgren, Levi Holzer, John Yale and Hunter Lanchbury. The junior class has Ryan Sime, The Bowman County sophomores are Alex Bartholomay and Cole Osendorf.

“We are definitely inexperienced,” Shahan said. “Tanner and Chandler are really the only two players that return with a good amount of experience. Tanner has gotten a ton of experience the last two years and Chandler has gotten a decent amount. After that, it gets pretty thin. We’ll be looking to improve throughout the year. We’ll definitely have to get creative here and there.”

Last year, the Bulldogs finished with a 9-12 overall record, while going 3-2 in District 13. Bowman County averaged 54.9 points per game and allowed 56.1.

The Bulldogs missed the Region 7 Tournament after losing to Hettinger-Scranton in a region-qualifier.

Bowman County and the rest of the team’s in Region 7 are guaranteed a spot in the regional tournament. There is only going to be a super-regional with the subtraction of District 13 and 14 Tournament. Shahan said it the new format should bode well for regular season and tournament play.

“It puts a little more emphasis on those super-regional games,” he said. “When your district gets down to just six teams and you only have five district games, that’s a pretty thin sample for setting up a tournament. Getting those 11 games and see the competition and see where you are at should give us a better representation on where the teams are at. It also provides the team toward the bottom an opportunity to get hot and make a run. I really think there is the best of both worlds.”