E/K-M Rebels hoping to have bounce back season
The Rebels are hoping to get back to the regional tournament for the first time since 2021.
EDGELEY — The Edgeley/Kulm-Montpelier Rebels headed into the 2021-22 season with championship aspirations and fell well short of that losing in the second consolation round of the District 5 tournament.
The Rebels lost Dalton Madcke, Justus Kiecker and Adam Nitschke but are returning their leading scorer in Jacob Nitschke who averaged 12.5 points per game.
“We had a lot of young guys that played minutes last year,” head coach Kevin Strobel said. “We look forward to getting our underclassmen into starting roles. Every year, you have that transition, some years it’s more, some years it’s less, but guys just gotta step up. Hopefully with their JV (junior varsity) experience and varsity from last year, they’ll be ready to play at a strong level.”
The Rebels' season ended with a 58-34 loss to Carrington in the District 5 tournament. Strobel admitted it hurt and said he hopes the Rebels can make it back to the Region 3 tournament.
“It defintely hurt,” senior Dylan Carlson said. “It hurt a lot of us and that’s going to help us this year, with giving the urge of fighting back and placing high in the regional tournament.”
Strobel expects multiple members of his team to have breakout seasons, including Carlson and fellow senior Jaxon Buckeye and juniors Nitschke, Austin Strobel and Zeke Barnick. He said he will look for sophomore Joe Kramlich to fill Madcke's role as a facilitator for the team.
“(Carlson will) be as a senior looked to probably add a little more scoring with the loss of Madcke and then Jaxon Buckeye is my other senior, which there’s only two, and Jaxon played mostly JV minutes but he’s one of those kids as a senior that’s going to be looked to play some varsity minutes and fill some time there,” Strobel said. “… A few other ones would be Stetson Schlecht, and then our two sophomores who were freshmen last year that started, that would be Joe Kramlich and Braden Kinzler who both of them started as freshmen. As a sophomore, you always expect a little bit more the next year and I think Joe will probably have to handle the ball and take over Dalton’s role there as far as point guard.”
Last season, Carlson averaged 6.2 points per game and 1.7 rebounds per game while adding 15 assists and 12 steals. Carlson said he is expecting the team to go on a run in the postseason.
“I think we’ll be better than last year,” Carlson said. “I think we’ll place high in regions and have a successful year.”
After only shooting 30% from 3-point range last season, Carlson said one of his goals for this season is to shoot the ball better from deep.
“I’d say to become a faster player and be more consistent on the 3-point line and be a team player,” Carlson said.
The Rebels open their season against Strasburg-Zeeland. Strobel is anticipating a tough District 5 season with teams like Barnes County North taking steps forward to compete with the top-tier teams in the district.
As Strobel heads into his 20th season at the helm of the Rebels, he said he has grown a lot as a coach.
“This will be my 20th season, so I’ve had a lot of different teams, I’ve had a lot of good teams and we’ve been fortunate we’ve had a lot of success,” Strobel said. “You still look to add new things and try different things not all the time. I have a tendency to fall back to probably what’s gotten us here somewhat. But you’re always looking to maybe add a different out-of-bounds play or maybe you throw a wrinkle in on defense. Typically, we’re (playing) man (to-man defense) but that doesn’t mean we have to play man all the time.”