Veteran Cyclone squad seeking state tourney finish
HARLAN -- On the heels of a successful turnaround season on the gridiron, the Harlan Community boys basketball team is seeking similar levels of improvement on the hardwood this winter.
Not that last season was a dud by any means. The Cyclones went 16-7 overall, finished in a four-way tie for second place in the Hawkeye Ten Conference and reached the 3-A district finals with a team that graduated all five starters from the previous year’s state semi-finalist.
Not too shabby, but when your program is accustomed to ending the majority of its seasons in Des Moines - as it has done 10 times in 18 years under coach Mitch Osborn - each time falling short is a disappointment.
The 2015-2016 Cyclones certainly seem poised for a happier ending come March. Osborn’s roster features a whopping 10 seniors - the most he’s ever had - four returning starters and six lettermen back from a season ago. Leading the way is 6-foot-5 swingman Kyle Juhl, a second-team All-Stater last year who will play college hoops at Division II Nebraska-Kearney. Juhl averaged a double-double last season (17.9 points, 10.3 rebounds per game) while also leading the team with 54 steals, 35 blocks, 45 three-pointers and a field goal percentage of 50.2.
The Cyclones’ next three leading scorers are also back in the mix. Senior forward Will Lansman (2nd team all-conference) averaged 10.7 points and 6.5 rebounds last season and is joined in the frontcourt by senior Ethan Knudson (8.0 ppg., 4.1 rpg.). Junior point guard Caleb Rasmussen (7.7 ppg.) dished out a team-high 100 assists while senior Thomas Fink chipped in 4.8 ppg. as a top reserve. Fink has been splitting time with senior Travis Crees so far this season as the starter at shooting guard.
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