By Tiffany L. Rehbein
There is not one star, but rather, seven to eight players who will play strong and hard for 32 minutes. That is the epicenter of the District 9-C Box Elder Bears this winter.
"We will have seven to eight players who will all contribute for us," second-year head coach Mark Irvin said. "We will spread the wealth a little bit."
Junior guard Jason Infante and sophomore guard Troy Henderson provide some quickness in the front court for the Bears.
"We will look for them to kind of get things going for us and run the show," Irvin said.
Six-foot-4 Kendall Parker provides the only legitimate height for the Bears. Parker averaged 5.4 rebounds per game last season.
"Right now, we are going to see who is going to step up and replace the leaders who we lost to graduation," Irvin said.
Kenny Gardipee, a 5-foot-11 junior, and Brandon Gopher, a 6-foot-1 junior forward might step into those vacancies.
At the Native American Classic last weekend at Billings, Gardipee, who came off the bench, Gopher, and Infante each tallied double figures throughout the weekend.
Gopher scored 26 points for naught in the 70-61 loss to St. Labre Saturday night. He was the second-best free throw shooter for the Bears last season, averaging 73 percent from the line.
Wade Colliflower is a senior who shot 40 percent from the field last season.
Jamie Swan is a 6-foot-1 senior forward, who averaged 33 percent from the field last season.
Sophomores Chad Parker, Jeff Henry, and Art Whitford, and juniors Lenno Henderson and Joe Don Demontiney round out the Bears' roster.
Box Elder, who finished 17-5 last season, are 0-2 overall after the Native American Classic.
In non-conference play, Lodge Grass handed the Bears an opening-season 84-58 loss.
After one weekend of play, Irvin said, staying intense defensively throughout the entire game is one focal point at this time.
While lack of communication might have been a problem in the early-season, the Bears' aggressive full-court pressure looked strong.
"Once we put together a complete game, I think we'll be all right," Irvin said.
Box Elder will host KG in conference action on Thursday, Dec. 16. Friday, the Bears will play at Rocky Boy, and Monday, Dec. 20, Box Elder will host Big Sandy to sew up the December schedule.