Bulldogs gearing up for tight conference race - Republic-Times | News

Bulldogs gearing up for tight conference race

By on November 29, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Members of the 2017-18 Waterloo High School boys varsity basketball team are, from left, front row, Jake Wade, Trey Hoffman, Nick Schlemmer, Darren Carner, Tre Wahlig and Brandon Schad; and back row: Assistant Coach Tim Augustine, Student Assistant Caleb Stefani, Sam Kreinberg, Ross Schrader, Eli Dodd, Derek Smothers, Jackson Ivers and Head Coach Dane Walter. (Corey Saathoff photo)

This year’s version of the Waterloo High School boys basketball team hopes to outsmart and outwork opponents as it looks to compete in the wide open Mississippi Valley Conference.

“Our biggest strength, honestly, is going to be our smarts,” Waterloo head coach Dane Walter told the Republic-Times. “I’ve got a group of kids here that are very coachable and work very hard.”

Waterloo is off to a 1-1 start, falling to Wesclin and edging Nashville in the inaugural Mascoutah Tip-Off Classic that began last week.

Two key returning players from last season’s 9-21 squad are seniors Ross Schrader and Eli Dodd.

Schrader, a 6-foot-4 forward, averaged nearly 13 points per game as a junior. 

Dodd, a 6-foot-5 guard, averaged six points per contest last season but has worked hard to improve his game, according to Walter.

“He’ll be a contributing factor for us this season, for sure,” Walter said.

In fact, Dodd leads the ‘Dogs in scoring at 19 points per game in the early going. 

Tre Wahlig, a junior, will be the starting point guard and has put in extra time to elevate to the varsity level, the coach said.

Senior post player Derek Smothers, at 6-foot-4, was injured for much of last season and looks to make an impact in 2017-18.

Smothers scored 15 points in last week’s overtime win against Nashville.

Sophomore guard Jake Wade will also be counted on for valuable minutes this season. Walter said.

“We’ve got some kids that have really put some time in at getting better,” Walter said. “We’ll look to push the ball at times. We’ll look to slow it down at times.”

Others expected to contribute this season include seniors Brandon Schad and Trey Hoffman, juniors Nathan Brown and Sam Kreinberg, and sophomores Nick Schlemmer and Darren Carner.

Walter said that the Mississippi Valley Conference is ripe for the picking this season, with no team expected to run away with the title.

“With this conference, there’s usually not a clear-cut favorite, so it’s going to be a wide open race,” Walter said. “We want to be able to compete well and be at the top of the conference.”

Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.