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Bucs focus on improving defense

The 2019-20 East Buchanan Buccaneers boys basketball team. Front row left to right: Zach Zingg, Logan Crawford, Alex Hackett and Tyson Russell. Middle row: Ben Hesner, Dalton Kortenkamp, Keaton Kelly, Owen Reck, Kaden Brockmeyer, Aiden Cook and Adam Hackett. Back row: Kirby Cook, Cole Bowden, Chance Beeh, Kaiden Gage, Harley Nelson, Hunter Edwards and Noah Walthart.

East Buchanan has some exciting offensive players on this year’s team but are looking to improve their defense to compete in the tough Tri-Rivers Conference.

Buccaneers head coach Chad Lamker said the team’s goals is to have the mindset of getting better in every practice and competing in every single game.

“Our practices will be heavily focused on defense this year,” Lamker said. “We had the best offensive stats we had in a while last year, but we could not stop anybody on defense. If we can get better on that end, I think we can have a very good year.”

Lamker will look to seniors Tyson Russell, Alex Hackett and Logan Crawford for leadership this season.

The Bucs will also be counting on juniors Harley Nelson and Kaden Brockmeyer; as well as sophomores Keaton Kelly and Adam Hackett to play key roles on this year’s team.

“We have six to seven guys that are capable of starting, which is a problem we haven’t had for a while,” Lamker said. “We are pretty sure on a few spots but have to see what guys step up to fill the other couple of starting spots.”

East Buchanan is bringing back their two leading scorers from last year; Russell (13.6 points per game) and sophomore Kaiden Gage (12.2 points per game). Russell also led the Bucs in rebounds, assists and steals.

“Tyson Russell was a Second Team Tri-Rivers West player last year, which is a very tough conference to get on an All-Conference team with the quality of our conference” Lamker said. “He is our leader and we look for him to have a good year. Kaiden Gage was an honorable mention as a freshman last year and set our school record for 3’s made in a season. [Last year] he was only a freshman; we expect him to take a huge step this year and do some big things.”

Last season, East Buchanan finished with a 6-17 record, but won two out of their final three games to close out the season.

“All games are important,” Lamker said. “I think we need to make sure that we show up every night and we really need to win the games we are supposed to win this year. We can’t have that bad loss that we have had the last couple of years.”