Jones looks to improve in year 2
With practice starting this past Monday, it’s officially prep basketball season and the Lakeview Lady Vikes are looking to improve on the 11-13 overall record, and 2-4 district record they put together in the 2017-18 season.
Monte Jones is returning for his second season as the head coach and has already noticed a difference between this year and last year.
“My assistants and I were talking. It feels like we’re two weeks ahead of where we were last year,” Jones said. “Last year I was still trying to remember everybody’s names. This year we have an offense in already. We’re humming along really well.”
Even though Lakeview ended the season with a losing record, the team scored 1,024 points during the previous season and only allowed 1,080 points, which shows just how close the Vikings were in many of their games the previous season.
The best stretch for the Vikings last year came when they won four out of five in December and early January defeating Logan View/Scribner-Snyder, David City, Schuyler and Douglas County West.
They also achieved wins over Boone Central/Newman Grove, Centennial, Aquinas, Adams Central and Central City.
Lakeview returns five seniors from last year’s team - Makenna Klug, Emily Van Cleave, Abby Kapels, Jordan Runge and Gracie Borer.
This season Jones said that he felt that he could start practice on the first day and get off and running right away.
Lakeview won’t have it easy this year as the Central Conference is full of tough competition, including teams like Seward which went 20-5 last season and York which was 16-8.
“When I look at our conference it’s very tough, but I also know we can compete with and beat the teams in our conference,” Jones said. “I also look at what we did in the offseason, all the work we put in and how we competed then, and I know we’re good enough to beat anyone on our schedule. If we don’t get selfish and we work hard we’re going to have a great schedule.”
One area that the Vikings will look to take control of games is with their aggressiveness on the defensive side of the ball, which Jones hopes will create offensive opportunities. Jones said he believes this strategy can work because of the length and athleticism that the Vikings possess in their personnel.
The five seniors on the team have been key to Lakeview’s development and will be a crucial part if the team is successful in the 2018-19 season.
“The first thing is how they bought into me coming in last year and what they did in the offseason last year, both in the spring and in the summer,” Jones said. “They bought into what I told them they had to do to get better. Now all the younger ones have seen it. In practice, they’ve been great leaders too. That’s just going to make our program great from the bottom up.”
Despite having five senior starters Jones said he also believes that he has some depth that could play a factor in games this year.
“The way I see our team is I have maybe seven people behind my starters who are in a position to get in a game, and right now it’s a jumble which is a good problem to have,” he said. “That hasn’t cleared itself yet and I’m glad it’s that way because that tells me that I have some depth.”
The first game of the Vikings will be on Nov. 29 when the team will travel to Crete for the season opener.
The Cardinals went 12-11 in the 2017-18 season and took down the Lady Vikes in the opener.
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org