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Plum City's Austin Coss battles for a rebound with a Glenwood City player last season. He's one of 11 returning lettermen back for the Blue Devils for this upcoming season.

Blue Devil boys looking for high level of improvement

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PLUM CITY - A snark would say Plum City High School’s boys’ basketball team will be improved only because the team can’t do much worse than the 1-20 record they put forward last season, 1-15 in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference.

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So if level of improvement is how PC will be judged for this upcoming season, PCHS Principal Paul Churchill, back again at the helm of Blue Devils boys’ hoops since he led them to the sectional finals in 2011, believes it can be quite significant for the 2013-14 season.

“I think realistically the kids know they have a chance to finish in the middle of the conference and they can do so if they show improvement in every practice and every game throughout the season,” Churchill said. “And if we do so, we’ll be playing our best basketball right at tournament time.”

One step Plum City won’t need to take at the start of this0 season is rebuilding their confidence level after taking some brutal beatdowns throughout last season. This past summer members of the PCHS squad played in a summer league at Elk Mound helped by new assistant coach Zach Gilles and won it.

“Hopefully confidence won’t be a concern for us,” Churchill said. “I think the kids know in a normal situation most of them would have been playing JV last season but because we didn’t have a lot of upper classmen last they had to play right away. We won’t have that problem this season. Our numbers are fantastic. We’ve got 24 kids out and we can play kids at JV who need to develop.  We have depth this season, which not something I’ve always been used to having as a coach. We’ll have good competition for the starting rotation.”

One other thing Churchill isn’t used to having as a head coach is a team with some size. PC has several players 6-3 or bigger like the team’s tallest player, 6-5 junior Wyatt Schultz along with juniors Chris Longsdorf, Ben Funk, Peter Fenter and senior Jaden Foley in the frontcourt.

“I’m looking forward to using our size to play better defense,” Churchill said. “We're lanky and have long arms and we want to make teams earn their points against us. We don’t want teams to get easy points against us.”

The whole 11-man team team lettered last season and only graduated Tyler Niebur.  PC returns its leading scorer in junior Alex Boyer. He received honorable mention All D-SC last season. Other backcourt and wing players for the Devils include juniors Nash Gilles, Andrew Gilles, Austin Coss and seniors Kyle Erickson and Brett Caturia.

Churchill says the team has good spot-up shooters but has concerns about their speed and quickness, so they may be more deliberate on offense than usual.

“We still have spots open for different positions and we want to put kids in the right positions to succeed,” Churchill said. “We’re still looking for an identity on offense but the one thing which must be our focus on offense is not to commit turnovers. We must take care of the ball and value each possession.  Turnovers are what cost teams games. “

Churchill says Elk Mound, Colfax and Mondovi will be the top teams in D-SC this season.

PCHS’s first game is Tuesday at home vs. Alma/Pepin. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.

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Sean Scallon
Sean Scallon has been a reporter and Sports Editor at the Pierce County Herald newspaper in Ellsworth since 1998. He holds a bachelors degree in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He's also worked at newspapers in Glenwood City, Wisconsin; Marion, Illinois and Shawano, Wisconsin. Sean also works as a sports reporter for other newspapers and websites in RiverTown Multimedia from River Falls to Hudson to New Richmond and Red Wing.
(715) 273-4334
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