Carrington Cardinals hoping experience leads to deeper run
The Cardinals are trying to get back to the state tournament for the first time since 2018.
CARRINGTON — The Carrington High School boys' basketball team returns seven impact players from a team that made it to the semifinals of the Region 3 tournament last season.
“My expectations for this group, it’s a group that’s been playing for a while and I have probably higher expectations than it seems like other teams do,” head coach Tim Ranum said. “I think we have an opportunity to be really competitive in the region. I think our district is really, really good. So, I think we have a chance to contend for the one seed in the district, which means we’re one of the better teams in the region. My expectations are for us to go out there every night and compete and I think I’ve seen a lot of improvement over guys. I’m excited to see this year’s team. I think we improved a lot throughout the course of last year and hopefully we pick up where we left off.”
The Cardinals got to the Region 3 tournament by finishing fourth in the District 5 tournament.
“I don’t know if that’s something that weighed in on us all year avenging the loss to Linton,” Ranum said. “I had a couple meetings with kids though and I asked them right away what their expectations were and their expectations were to go to state and they thought anything less than that would be a failure so I don’t think it’s necessarily about getting back at Linton.”
The Cardinals will rely on returning starters Hudson Schmitz, Jack Erickson, Grady Shipman and Josh Bickett. Last season, Bickett averaged 7.5 points per game on 36% shooting, 2.3 rebounds per game and 1.9 assists per game. During his sophomore year, Shipman added 7.9 points per game, 4 rebounds per game and 2.4 assists per game. During his junior campaign, Erickson averaged 1.9 points per game, 2.2 rebounds per game and 1 assist per game.
Despite the success that Bickett and Shipman had last year, Ranum expects them to have a breakout season alongside Erickson.
“Last year (Bickett) did a great job handling the ball and taking the open shots, he’s a good shooter, now he needs to develop into more of a scorer,” Ranum said. “… I think Jack Erickson is going to surprise a lot of people. He just keeps working on his game every year and it just needs to translate to games. He looks good in practice, he just hasn’t been able to do it in games. If he’s able to bring that to us, I think that’s three guys that will make a huge difference and take leaps from last year.”
Ranum said he is hoping that group of players helps keep the team calm throughout the season and shows their maturity.
The second-leading scorer from last year is returning in Hudson Schmitz, who averaged 10.5 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game and 1.6 assists per game. Despite the graduation of last year’s leading scorer Lucas Hendrickson, Schmitz said he does not feel a ton of pressure to carry the scoring load.
“Honestly not too much pressure because we have a lot of guys on the team that can score points too,” Schmitz said. “So, I think it won’t just be a single-person load. I think we have a lot of different threats on our team that can put the ball in the hole.”
The Cardinals have an early season test when they go to Medina/Pingree-Buchanan at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 29.
“I think it will see how we can improve and how we stack up against all the other teams in the region,” Schmitz said. “I think it will be huge for us, win or loss.”