Spartan boys aim to keep looking ahead

Spearfish’s Jake Powell gets ready to shoot over the stretched out arms of a defender during a game in the 2018-19 season. Pioneer file photo

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SPEARFISH — Spearfish boys’ basketball coach Erik Skoglund has a simple formula for Spartans’ success this season.

“We cannot let a couple of losses affect us the next weekend,” Skoglund said. “On the floor, one mistake can’t compound into two or three.”

Skoglund said the team will go through tough practices and tough games. He is beginning his third season as Spartans’ head coach. 

 “We have a solid group of six seniors that have had great summers, great fall workouts, and have been leading our underclassmen this winter, this first week of the season,” Skoglund said.

Logan Ammerman, Cade Lyon, John Nickles, Ryan Peldo, Jake Powell, and Aiden Woods are the players Skoglund cited. The coach said junior Tyler Huber and sophomore Peyton Millis will also make huge contributions.

Cohesiveness is a team strength, according to Skoglund. 

“We are a great passing team,” Skoglund said. “We’ve got to be able to shoot a higher percentage from behind the (3-point) arc.”

Skoglund said the Spartans must also be able to defend when playing against great Class AA teams. 

That road begins on Dec. 13-14, when Spearfish goes on the road against Yankton and Brandon Valley, respectively. Yankton won the 2018 state AA title; Brandon Valley is the defending AA champion.

“Our lack of depth, especially early in the season, is going to come into play,” Skoglund said. He added some underclassmen will need to step up.

The Spartans’ schedule is as difficult this season as in 2018-19, Skoglund said. He added the team is looking forward to that.

Spearfish hosts Aberdeen Central in its home opener Dec. 20. That begins a three-game home stand and is the first of nine games set for the Spearfish High School gym. Pierre (Dec. 21) and Sturgis (Jan. 3) also come to Spearfish during that stretch.

When asked about the Black Hills Conference, Skoglund said it is all talk until later December, when all teams are seen.

“You see who’s healthy,” Skoglund said. “You see who’s stepping up.” He added, however, that St. Thomas More will always be really solid.

Skoglund agreed it is too early to tell how Spearfish stacks up with the other conference teams.

Official practice sessions began Dec. 2, and the Spartans have been fine-tuning things. Skoglund said the players enjoyed a great fall of open gym and weightlifting sessions.

Offensive timing is coming together, according to Skoglund. 

Spearfish finished 3-17 last season and did not qualify for the Class AA SoDak 16 event. Tyler Barkley, Kevin Kolb, Jesse Sacrison, and Taten Rhoades graduated from that squad. 

What can Spearfish take from last season to start building a foundation for 2019-20?

“We want guys who are motivated from last season,” Skoglund said. “All we want is someone who wants to work harder.”

As for biggest improvements, Skoglund said, the players have matured considerably from last season.

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