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The Blackduck boys basektball team won its first three games, including Tuesday's home opener against Nevis. The Drakes downed the Tigers 76-67. Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer

Area boys basketball preview: Blackduck buys into what coaches are doing

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BLACKDUCK — Even after losing five seniors to graduation, the Blackduck boys basketball team has started out the season on a positive note.

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The Drakes have three wins under their belt already. They beat Northland-Remer 55-38 for their first game of the season, Lake of the Woods 84-30 on Nov. 25 and Win-E-Mac 67-65 earlier this week.

The team has suffered one loss against Lake Park-Audubon 61-48 on Dec. 6.

“The kids are really working hard and really buying into what we’re doing and so far it’s been really good,” head coach Grant Mistic said.

The captains this year for the Drakes are seniors Trey Volk and Jake Krabbenhoft and sophomore Tyler Jablonski. Volk has been playing on the varsity squad since eighth grade and Krabbenhoft since the 10th grade.

“Obviously they bring a lot of experience and leadership,” Mistic said of the duo.

Krabbenhoft said he is looking forward to playing area rivalries including Northome-Kelliher, Walker and Nevis.

After losing five seniors and only bringing up one freshman this year, Mistic does admit to being a little concerned about numbers.

“Numbers are a little bit low but we’re okay,” Mistic said. “Hopefully we can stay away from injury and sickness and all that.”

They’re a very athletic team, according to Mistic who says that can be a real strength as the season goes on.

The goal for the 2013-14 season for the Drakes is to win a conference championship.

I know that’s never easy,” Mistic said. “There are some really good teams in the conference.”

So far, he said, the top competitors in the conference will likely be Red Lake and Cass Lake-Bena. “I’m very very optimistic that by the middle to the end of the season we can be a very, very good team,” Mistic said.

The Drakes will play at home tonight against Bigfork and tomorrow night against Northome-Kelliher.

Starting this year for the Drakes have been seniors Trey Volk and Jake Krabbenhoft, junior Tristan Hendrickson, sophomore Tyler Jablonski and freshman Isaac Volk.

Northome-Kelliher

NORTHOME — The Mustangs had a successful football season and head coach Robert Steuven plans to maintain that momentum.

The team began the season with a 70-53 win against Clearbrook-Gonvick. The Mustangs started the game shooting slower 28 percent in the first half but they improved to 60 percent in the second according to Stueven.

“They looked a lot better in the second,” Stueven said. “They had to get the rust out, that’s for sure.”

The Mustangs were scheduled to play Walker-Hackensack-Akeley on Tuesday but the game was cancelled due to weather conditions.

The goal for Northome-Kelliher to achieve a single-digit losing season. Stueven said that hasn’t happened since he became the coach.

Returning starter, captain and senior Isaiah Rahier will, hopefully, be a factor in making that goal happen said Stueven. Senior point guard Mark Geerdes is the other captain.

One concern for the Mustangs is that instead of having 11 plays on the bench like they did last year, they will only have nine this season.

“But for a school our size, we’re very fortunate,” Stueven said.

A tentative starting lineup for the Mustangs will include Jarrett Burns, Adrian Pink, Isaiah Rahier, Eli Rahier, Jake Shaghnessy and Brenin Head.

Stueven has noticed more doubleheaders in the schedule compared to years past and thinks it’s a good idea.

“Then, the boys get to see the girls play and the girls get to see the boys play,” Stueven said.

The Mustangs are looking forward to playing Blackduck in their homecoming game on Dec. 30. The Drakes will also host Northome-Kelliher for their homecoming game.

The Mustangs play at 7 p.m. today against Nevis.

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