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J-Hawks boys hoops look to take flight

The 2019-20 Jesup boys basketball team. Front row left to right: Preston Faust, Ethan Menuey, Cole Bucknell, Jayden Griffin, Matthew Phillips, Brevin Dahl, Rylan Bahe, Nicholas Sadler, Nolan Evans, Jacob Yexley, Ryan Durham and Cameron Troyer. Middle row: Carson Lienau, Kamden Ochsner, Creed Rolison, Brody Clark-Hurlburt, Merak Sly, Parker McHone, Parker Duwe, Corbin Fuelling, Brady Reyes and Gavin Nolan. Back row: Landon Borrett, Heath Wyant, Brodie Kresser, Tanner Cole, Dawson Dykes, Noah Sheridan, Carter Even, Carson Donlea, Taveon Scullark, Kyle Brown, Jase Pilcher, Cooper Fuelling and Richard Acquaye. Not pictured: Brayden Menuey and Ayden Wolf.

The Jesup J-Hawks boys basketball team is looking for another strong season after finishing 13-9 and advancing to the semifinal round of the district tournament last season.

Jesup defeated North Cedar 61-49 in the quarterfinals of their district tournament, before falling to North Linn 103-51 in the semifinals.

“Our goals are the same every single season, compete for the conference championship and get to the state tournament,” said Jesup head coach Joe Smeins.

Gone is Cade Nolan, who led the team with 12 points per game average. Jesup also graduated Josh Johnson and Zach Mead, who were key contributors on last year’s team.

The J-Hawks will lean on their trio of returning starters to be their core this year, Landon Borrett, Cooper Fuelling and Brodie Kresser. Several other junior players will compete for playing time.

Smeins said the team’s veterans are always expected to take on leadership roles.

“We saw this occur as soon as the season ended last winter,” Smeins said. “Cooper Fuelling and Landon Borrett set the tone by having nearly perfect attendance this spring and summer when we had basketball camps and open gyms. It is always exciting to see kids work themselves into leadership roles. Those are vital things if we want to be successful year in and year out.”

Kresser is the team’s leading returning scorer and averaged 10 points per game last year. Fuelling averaged 9.8 points per game, while Borrett averaged 7.8 points per game during the 2018-19 campaign.

Some players who may have increased roles on this year’s team includes Heath Wyant, Tanner Cole, Jase Pilcher and Dawson Dykes.

“We have several minutes available for playing time either in a starting role or off the bench,” Smeins said. “There are several kids who have put lots of time to get better since last February. We will need great leadership from our three returning starters early in the season to help stabilize us, so our new guys can get into position.”

Jesup will compete in a tough North Iowa Cedar League East Division, which the J-Hawks had a 10-6 record in.

“We open the season at Oelwein, [who] we haven’t played in a long time,” Smeins said. “Our league will be very good again this year with Denver, Aplington-Parkersburg, Wapsie and Dike-NH all having very good teams.”

2019-20 Jesup Boys Basketball Schedule

Tuesday, Dec. 3: at Oelwein, 6:15 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 6: hosts Wapsie Valley, 7:45 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 10: hosts Hudson, 7:45 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 13: hosts Aplington-Parkersburg, 7:45 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 16: at Denver, 7:45 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 17: at Dike-New Hartford, 7:45 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 20: hosts Columbus Catholic, 7:45 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 4: vs. Waukon at Upper Iowa University, 7 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 6: hosts Don Bosco, 7:45 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 7: hosts BCLUW, 7:45 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 10: at Union, 7:45 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 14: hosts Sumner-Fredericksburg, 7:45 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 17: at Wapsie Valley, 7:45 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 20: at Hudson, 7:45 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 24: at Aplington-Parkersburg, 7:45 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 25: at Grundy Center, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 28: hosts Denver, 7:45 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 31: hosts Dike-New Hartford, 7:45 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 3: at Columbus Catholic, 7:45 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 7: hosts Union, 7:45 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 11: at Sumner-Fredericksburg, 7:45 p.m.