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Raiders' seniors helping coach Alder get adjusted

RICHARDTON -- For Richardton-Taylor boys basketball, at least in the early going, the teacher has become the student. First-year head coach Shawn Alder, also the track coach and the football team's defensive coordinator, has spent his first few m...

Richardton-Taylor senior Jayden Olson attempts a layup against Heart River in last season's Roughrider Tournament on Dec. 15, 2015, at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Press File Photo)
Richardton-Taylor senior Jayden Olson attempts a layup against Heart River in last season's Roughrider Tournament on Dec. 15, 2015, at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Press File Photo)

RICHARDTON - For Richardton-Taylor boys basketball, at least in the early going, the teacher has become the student.

First-year head coach Shawn Alder, also the track coach and the football team's defensive coordinator, has spent his first few months in charge trying to get acquainted.

Luckily for him, he inherited a strong foundation to help him along.

"It's kind of a perfect team to come into for me, these seniors are helping me out as far as the transition goes," Alder said. "They had the same program for three years, and now their last year they have to shift everything. They're just handling it perfectly. They're great kids, they don't complain. It's great to have these seniors help me out."

Alder comes into a situation with eight upperclassmen in all - six seniors and two juniors, plus a handful of underclassmen he thinks could contribute this year.

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The Raiders went 6-16 last season, but the new coach thinks there is reason to believe his team is on an upswing.

They don't necessarily have a lot of height, but the taller guys - at around 6-foot 2, 6-foot-3 - are the athletic type. If this team will have one noticeable advantage over other teams, thinks Alder, it will be speed.

"The height that we do have isn't just dangly, tall kids. These are athletic guys that can play guard and can also post up. We have a very diverse team. We have guys at 6-foot-3 that bring the ball up and guys that are 5-foot-8 that can post you up, too," Alder said. "And they can all run. We're going to really focus on pushing the ball and using our speed."

The team's engine this season will be point guard Ethan Kuntz, a returning starter and a skilled player with "great quickness" and dribbling skills, according to Alder.

The Raiders also return Jaden Olson - a senior who missed all but the final playoff game of this previous football season due to a summer rodeo injury.

Brendan Butterfield, another senior, and junior Matthew Naumann figure to be significant contributors as well.

Alder said his team, whose season starts this upcoming Tuesday, hasn't yet discussed any concrete goals. But one thing both he and the rest of the Raiders are aware of are the expectations - or lack thereof - for them entering this season. Hopefully, he said, they can use that to their advantage.

"We're not coming into the season a favorite, we know that," Alder said, "so if we can kind of turn people's thoughts about Richardton-Taylor around, and maybe sneak into that top three or four by the end of the season, I think that would be a major goal."

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Richardton-Taylor Raiders

Head coach: Shawn Alder (first season)

2015-16 result: 6-16 overall, lost in Region 7 Tournament play-in round

Returners: Adrian Hauck, Sr., Brendan Butterfield, Sr., Ethan Kuntz, Sr., Jayden Olson, Sr., Ethan Goetz, Sr., Alex Dinius, Sr., Matthew Naumann, Jr., Coy Diede, Jr.

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