The Richardton-Taylor boys basketball team has one returning starter — Lane Voltz.
“We are going to struggle at the beginning of the season, but we have a lot of really good athletes,” he said. “They are just going to have to get acclimated to the speed of varsity basketball. I anticipate we are going to take some lumps early, but we’ll hopefully be where we need to be at the end of the season.”
Voltz led the Raiders and was one of the top scorers in Region 7 last season, putting up 18.4 points per game. He was named to the All-Region 7 team last year.
“He can score from anywhere,” Bartz said. “He gets to the rim pretty well. He shoots and offensively he’s just a really good player. He’s the leading returning scorer for the region. He’s going to have to try to not do too much this year, because he has a lot of new players around him.”
Richardton-Taylor scored 62.2 points per game and allowed 61.4. The Raiders finished with a 12-10 overall record and made the Region 7 tournament, but lost in the first round to Heart River.
With four new starters, Bartz knows it will take some time getting accustomed to the varsity level.
“The message is whether we win or lose, we have to get better,” Bartz said. “We can’t relapse. We want to keep improving and not get down on ourselves.”
Richardton-Taylor players who will see extensive playing time are seniors Coal Kuntz (5-10, guard), Lane Aune (5-11, forward), Spencer Floberg (6-2, forward) and Hunter Kuntz (6-3, forward). The Raiders have a couple of juniors who will receive playing time in Jacob Kuntz (5-11, guard) and Cory Rebel (5-10, guard).
The Raiders aren’t lacking in the height category in the paint with Floberg and Hunter Kuntz.
“Spencer is a pretty good rebounder and shot blocker,” Bartz said. “Hunter didn’t play last year, but he came back out this year. He’s a pretty good player.”
The sophomores who may see some playing time are Denver Colgrove (5-10 guard) and Abraham Axtmann (6-0, forward). Richardton-Taylor also has seniors Logan Lacher (5-11, forward) and Trystan Fisher (6-1, forward) on the roster.
Richardton-Taylor played its first Region 7 game of the season Tuesday, falling to Glen Ullin-Hebron 58-53. Bartz said the game was a good indication of what the team needs to work on for later in the season.
With the District 13 and 14 tournaments eliminated, Region 7 has turned into a super-region with every team making the region tournament.
The Raiders hope to be playing their best basketball three months from now.
“I like the new format, I really do,” Bartz said. “The district tournaments in the end were kind of anticlimactic really. Only four of the six teams went on to regionals. The way that it is right now, you are going to have a few upsets, but overall it gives our region the best representative at the state tournament. Whoever is playing well at that time of the year is going to have a chance and I think we have a chance of playing pretty well at that time of the season.”