Oakes Tornadoes look to rip through the competition
The team is hoping to replace most of their scoring from last season.
The Oakes High School Tornadoes gave the eventual state runner-up Edgeley/Kulm-Montpelier as much as they could handle in the 2020-21 Region 3 semifinals but fell just short 69-68 in overtime.
The loss saw the Tornadoes continue an upward trajectory finishing the season at 17-7. The Tornadoes finished the regular season on a four-game winning streak before winning in the first round of the Region 3 tournament and then falling to the Rebels.
This year’s edition of the Tornadoes are going to be a younger one than the team last year, as the Tornadoes lost six seniors to graduation. This season will also be head coach Rod Kramer’s second at the helm.
As a result of the losses of seniors that the team suffered, Kramer’s expectations for this season are tempered.
“We lost a lot of players from last year that are really decent kids. We lost three all-district players and I think we were averaging about 70 points a game and we lost about 65 points to seniors," Kramer said. "So, I shouldn’t say it’s a rebuilding year because these kids, they’ve been working their tails off for me the last year and it’s just a matter of who is going to step up or not this year, scoring wise.
“I think we are all going to work very hard but it’s just the fact that I need some scoring. I’m not positive who is going to step into that role but I’m excited to find out.”
The team has two seniors this year in David Schmitz and Bryley Habermann. As a result, Kramer expects them and junior Noah Sundby to break out this year and help lead the Tornadoes.
After the program suffered through three consecutive losing seasons, the team returned to the winning ways finishing above .500 in each of the last two seasons, something that Kramer wants to work to continue this season.
“It’s going to be tough with those group of kids that we lost. But, the work ethic that they are showing me the last couple of years has been amazing,” Kramer said. “We are going to be a fast team, a good defensive team I believe. Hopefully, we can put up some points. The big thing is we have to create turnovers that scores us points.”
The team starts that journey at home on Dec. 10 against Sargent County.
“It feels good. We are going to give it our best and see what happens and we’ll take it from there. There are probably going to be 10 to 12 players that actually see the floor this year,” Kramer said. “So, it is going to be interesting to see how we gel together and what group comes out of that.”
Kramer said the belief inside the program is that the team needs to gel and come together but once that happens, he thinks they can shock some people in the district and regional tournament.