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Heath Hotzler, Published January 08 2009

Squirrels display resiliency

It was a difficult offseason for the Central Cass boys basketball team.

The Squirrels graduated four seniors from a team that captured the Class B, District 2 title and advanced to the Region 1 title game.

Then team MVP Matt Hendrickson caught the Squirrels off guard on the last day of school last year with a decision to move to Missouri. The 6-foot-3 senior forward is now a contributor at Lee’s Summit North High School near Kansas City.

Standout senior Beau Sinner severely injured his eye in a fireworks mishap last August.

“Sometimes what makes you weaker can eventually make you stronger in the end,” Central Cass coach Troy Roesler said.

The Squirrels have been just fine despite the adversity, opening the season 5-1.

Central Cass has been able to continue the offensive balance and defensive dominance that last season helped it to the brink of the state tournament.

Nick Voss leads the team with 11 points a game. Harrison Weber and Spencer Waldahl each average about 10 points.

The Squirrels are allowing 45 points a game.

“Leadership is the biggest thing,” Roesler said. “We have a good group of six seniors, and we’ve been working pretty hard. We’re just working on finding our roles. We’re working on who needs to take the shot at what time.”

Central Cass’ leadership core has been helped by the return of Sinner. A starter last year, the senior is now in a reserve role due to his injury.

He’s averaging 6 points and 3.2 rebounds.

Roesler said he hopes to have Sinner at 100 percent by the end of the season. However, he admits that there is no guarantee Sinner will be fully healed during the basketball season.

Sinner can wear a contact lens for four hours each day as his eye recovers.

He has started about half of the Squirrels games this year, and is averaging about 20 minutes on the floor.

“It’s a step process,” Roesler said. “His attitude has been great. When his contact is in, his eyesight is about 20-60, and that plays with his depth-perception some. Some games it works pretty well, some games he struggles some. … It’s huge for him to just be back on the court.”

With or without Sinner fully healed, Roesler said his team needs to improve to compete for a region championship.

“I think our record shows a little better start than we’ve had,” he said. “We shot 25 percent from the field in one game. Another game we were 4 of 22 from 3-point range. We have a ways to go. But I’m very happy with their effort. We have things we need to work on to get to where we want to be.”

Odds and ends

North Sargent senior Ryan Drevlow scored his 1,000th career point in a 64-57 win against Milnor on Tuesday night. A four-year starter, Drevlow has committed to play football at North Dakota State next year. … West Fargo’s Scott Schiller was ranked by Wrestling USA Magazine as the preseason No. 4 junior in the country at 189 pounds. Schiller finished fifth at last weekend’s Rumble on the Red wrestling tournament at the Fargodome.

Readers can reach Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562 or hhotzler@forumcomm.com. Hotzler’s blogs can be found

at www.areavoices.com