The Bishop Ryan game plan may change a little bit this season.
The Lions, who went 12-11 last year and lost to Rugby in the first round of the Region 6 tournament, no longer have the services of graduated 6-foot-5 center Will DeCoteau or 6-3 forward Alec Burgard. Instead of having a big man who can pluck rebounds at will, Ryan will have to work for for boards with a starting lineup that may feature nobody taller than 6-1.
The Lions start their season 7:15 Thursday night at Sawyer.
Bishop Ryan junior Brody Bosch gets fouled going to the lane during the Lions’ scrimmage against Garrison on Tuesday.
"(DeCoteau) would end up with a lot of rebounds just because he was tall and could jump and it'd just fall in his hands," Ryan coach Scott Medalen said. "This year, a point of emphasis is we're going to have to make sure that we're boxing out, that we're aggressive going after the ball. If we don't win the rebounding battle, we're going to have trouble winning games."
Junior Mason Kramer is likely to get the most time at center, with classmate Isaac Massey, sophomore Jared Will and senior Matt Niess also fighting for minutes.
The man responsible for feeding the bigs has also changed. Austin Eggl, a junior, will shift from point guard to the wing. Junior Brody Bosch will man the point, with classmates Mitchell Medalen and Jake Magnuson likely starting at the 2 and 4 positions, respectively, though Scott Medalen said he envisions "three or four different starting lineups taking place this year."
"It's definitely a different experience," Eggl said of changing positions. "It's kinda fun getting used to playing off ball some. I'm just doing some different things, letting Brody grow as a point guard."
Though Eggl and Magnuson are the two leading returning scorers, neither averaged double figures last year. Scott Medalen doesn't see the lack of one high-volume scorer as a problem.
"Sometimes what you find is if you get a lockdown defender from one of those other teams, you got a 20-point scorer used to getting 20 points and then you get a lockdown defender that doesn't let him get anything. All of a sudden the rest of the team is looking around like 'What are we going to do? We don't have a guy that can score.'
"I think this year, we might have four, five, six guys in that eight-to-nine point range. Those points, even though they're single digits, add up just as quickly."
Medalen, who didn't elaborate on a target win number, said his team is focused in the early season on getting better every day.
"It's kind of baby steps right now, small goals, small hurdles that we're trying to clear," Medalen said. "We'll have a good sitdown here ... over the next couple of weeks and maybe piece together and look ahead to some bigger things."