Three tips: what North Star BBB must do to succeed this season

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

CANDO – The North Star Bearcats were a rising power in the Class B Basketball realm not too long ago. After all, the Bearcats averaged 18 wins per year over a four-season period, spanning from 2013-14 to 2016-17. 

The Bearcats will vie to replicate this kind of success as they head into the 2021-22 season. Should the Bearcats look to tally eight wins or more this season (they averaged eight wins per season from 2017-18 to 2020-21), they will need to follow these three tips. 

The North Star Boys Basketball Team poses for a photo.

1. Find that lethal lineup combination 

The Bearcats will have a different look to them this season. Losing four senior starters will force even the deepest teams to adjust, and the Bearcats are no exception. 

The Bearcats, however, do have one thing going in their favor. Although North Star lost talent, they still bring some of it back. Three premier sophomores in Karsen Simon, Parker Simon and Dane Hagler (more on Hagler below) will look to slot into the lineup with senior Drew Nicholas and junior Bryce Prouty. 

Even still, it is all about making the right group mesh. Although the Bearcats have the comfort of familiarity on their side (many of their players have played together since their elementary days), there will still be a learning curve. 

“From a coaching standpoint, you want to figure out your rotations,” North Star head coach Jesse Vote said. “Who is going to out? What can we do when these two kids come on the court? What can we do with this group of kids? There is going to be some tinkering early on, and we might have some growing pains early on. But, I do think we are going to be very competitive from the get-go.” 

2. Play small, but fast, too

While they lost the majority of their starting lineup, the Bearcats will have the opportunity to play with a quicker pace to their name. Given the smaller nature of the team, this new strategy could serve them well toward more pressure up and down the court. 

“This group, I think we are going to be able to get out pressure more, whether that is half-court or full-court and get out and run,” Vote said. “We might be only seven, maybe eight guys deep, so we will see how long we can sustain that. But, with these guys, they like to get the ball down the floor and go. Hopefully, we can get lots of layups at the other end.”

“We had some height last year,” Vote said. “We are going to try to replace that a little bit. My sophomores are big, but we had some decent kids that are definitely going to have to fill their shoes, and I don’t know if we can fill them this year, but hopefully, in the next couple of years, we will.” 

The future for the Bearcats is now, and while they might be shooting to be bigger and better several years down the road, they will attempt to jump-start the process this year. They will need to. 

3. Find a scoring partner for Dane Hagler 

In terms of scoring, it will be up to the sophomore in Hagler to replicate and build on his 2020-21 season, where he averaged 16.7 points per game (PPG). His 72 steals, 78 assists and 32 three-pointers were not too shabby, either. 

You get the basic idea. Hagler can, and will, score at will. However, it will be up to a returner or up-and-comer to find the basket with more regularity. Whether it be a Drew Nicholas (who averaged 2.7 PPG last season) or a Parker Simon (who averaged 6.7 PPG last season), North Star needs a secondary scoring option in the hopes of preventing any double-teams or traps set forth on Hagler. And besides, who wouldn’t like another top-notch bucket-maker? It is all about the entertainment factor, right?