The S-D-A winter sports teams jump into action this week. Check out the Journal-Democrat on Friday, Dec. 7, for results, team photos and stories on the upcoming year.

Boys Basketball

After a state tournament appearance last season, the Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca Rocket boys basketball team will have a mixture of experienced and inexperienced players to start the year.
Three starters from last year’s team will be back for S-D-A.  Ben Nannen, Wil McCoy, and Jackson Zastera will lead the Rockets out on the court this 2018-19 season.
Coach Mark Hrabik said he is currently evaluating his team.  Hrabik said that he feels there are some players who can come of the bench and fill roles for the Rockets.
Ben Nannen led S-D-A in scoring last year and took over the point guard position after, then senior Trevor Brinkman, suffered an injury during the 2017 football season.
“Ben has the most experience,” Coach Hrabik said.  “He has worked on and improved on his ball handling from last year, and after spending most of last year at point guard, it really opened his eyes on how the whole floor operates.”
The way the they run their offense, the Rockets don’t have to have a point guard on top and they need everyone to take care of the ball.
Wil McCoy is a six-foot-four senior who can help the Rockets with ball security.
“At six-foot-four, he is a good ball handler,” Hrabik said.
Zastera will be the Rockets’ presence underneath the hoop when game time rolls around.
The Rockets were set to begin the season at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, at Falls City.

Girls Basketball

The S-D-A Rocket  girls basketball team return experience and athleticism after an 11 win season in 2017-18.
Last year was Andrew Pryor’s first year as the Rockets head basketball coach.  With a year under his belt, the players seem to be more familiar with the system that has been put in place, and Coach Pryor said that it has been beneficial.
“I can definitely tell it is year two,” Pryor said.  “Everybody is on the same page.  You can tell a lot of things are clicking better.”
The Rocket  basketball team hasn’t had a winning record in the last four years, but is intent on changing that fact.
Last year, Coach Pryor talked about competing and playing hard.  
During the 2017-18 season, the Rockets lost seven games by six points or less.  Pryor does not want to dwell on the past, but looking back at how those games played out can also provide teaching moments on how to handle certain situations.  Now that it is a new season, expectations are higher.
“Our goals for this year are a lot higher because the girls are more aware of what we are capable of,” Pryor said.  “Having a winning record is a simple goal, but a big goal.”
Pryor is not setting the bar low by any means.  He realizes that his team is capable of accomplishing a lot this season.
The Rockets will return seven players with varsity experience and was to start the new season at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, at Falls City.

Wrestling

The S-D-A Rockets wrestling returns a state qualifier in Spencer Bridgmon as the 2018-2019 season begins.
“We are looking for ways for him (Bridgmon) to continue to build on his success from last year,” Coach Goebel said.
S-D-A sent four athletes to state last year.  Among those were; seniors, Nate Snyder, Max Hughes, Caleb Lefferdink, and sophomore, Spencer Bridgmon.
In the 2018-19 season, the Rockets will look to three different seniors in Zach Beers, Jeremy Marrero, and Bryan Bailey, to lead a 13-man group.
“Zach and Jeremy were one win away from making state last year, so they have some much needed fuel heading into this season,” Coach Jeremy Goebel said.  “Anytime you get that close, guys can’t wait to get back at it for the next go-around.”
As far as the younger wrestlers, Burton Brandt, will be eager to get back on the mat after an injury towards the end of the 2107-18 season.
The Rockets have four freshmen entering this year and Coach Goebel said they are going to have to figure out ways to step up right away for us.
“We have got to keep elevating our level of work,” Goebel said.  “We have short, mid, and long term goals.  If we stay goal oriented it will be a huge dividend when it comes district time in David City.  Do the little things right and the chips will fall where they need to be.”
The S-D-A wrestling team was to be in dual action on Thursday, November 29, at Waverly, beginning at 6:30 p.m.