The Waterloo High School basketball team was bounced from the postseason by rival Columbia in the Class 3A regional semifinal last Tuesday night, 57-34.
But despite a dismal overall season record in 2015-16, the building blocks are in place for success next winter.
The Bulldogs finished with a record of 8-22 under first-year head coach Dane Walter. That mark could be somewhat misleading, however, due to the fact that the team’s leading scorer, Ben Huels, missed a handful of games with an injury.
“Overall, it was a great year for us,” Walter told the Republic-Times. “We grew immensely from November to March as individuals and most importantly as a team, which is important because we will have the same core group back next year.”
In fact, Waterloo only loses one player to graduation, that being senior Tristan Schneider.
“Only losing one senior, everyone else that played varsity minutes will be that much more prepared for next year,” Walter said.
Huels led the team in scoring at 15.4 points per game. He also averaged about four rebounds per contest this season. Huels scored 16 points to lead Waterloo in the season-ending March 1 defeat at Columbia.
He will be back to lead the ‘Dogs next season along with other key pieces of the roster, including Griffin Lenhardt (10.5 points per game, 3.4 assists per game), Ross Schrader (9.5 points per game, 83 percent free throw percentage) and Dylan Hunt (nine points per game, six rebounds per game, 46 blocked shots).
Walter said he is excited to work with his team this coming offseason for improved results in 2016-17.
“I am looking forward to continuing to work with this group and to our summer workouts and continuing to get better,” he said.