Head coach: Jeremy Mallard, 7th year.
Last year’s record: 3-2 record in Class 1A District 2; 12-10 overall record.
Key returning players:
Cal Garcia, 5-10 guard
JJ Juarez, 6-0 forward
Quade Malone, 5-11 guard
Dakota Canfield, 5-11 post
Colin Lindo, 6-1 forward
Carl McKenzie, 6-1 forward
Chance Ham, 6-2 guard
Team outlook: The Cardinals lost a big part of the team’s offense with the graduation of Ian Beckett who averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds a game last year. “Ian did a lot for us on offense and defense,” said Coach Mallard. “But our guys coming back put in a lot of work this summer and we played a lot of games. Hopefully, we will be alright.”
With seven seniors on the roster, Mallard hopes to see some leaders emerge from the group. “We don’t have anyone who can just go out and drop a bunch of numbers,” he said. “If we want to be good these guys are going to have to do things collectively. One night it might be Colin Lindo who scores 10 or 15 points one night or it might be Carl McKenzie. It just depends on who is playing well.”
Looking at his team, Mallard said, “We don’t have a super great ball handler or scorer and we don’t have a super post player. But we have a bunch of guys who can do a little bit of everything.”
“We’re not going to change things a whole lot and what you see is what you get,” said Mallard. “If we rely just on our offense we’re going to be in trouble. So, we’ve got to play solid defense and do the little things right.”
Looking at the teams in District 2, Mallard points to Kit Carson as the team to beat.
The Kit Carson Wildcats are ranked No. 2 behind No. 1 Sangre de Cristo in the Class 1A preseason state rankings by CHSAAnow.com.
The only other ranked team from the area is No. 7 Walsh.
McClave opens the season with a home game against Stratton/Liberty on Friday, Nov. 30.
The Cardinals will then participate in the Border Wars Tournament hosted by Syracuse High School on Tuesday, Dec. 4, Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8.
The McClave boys will play Tribune, Ks. at 3:00 on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
On Friday, Dec. 7, the Cardinals face Syracuse at 6:00.
The McClave boys round out the tournament against Johnson at 3:00 on Saturday, Dec. 8.