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The Spartan Speaks

The student news site of Orono High School

The Spartan Speaks

Orono Men’s Basketball Sets Sights on New Season

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Jackson Woodburn
Interested in this year’s Orono Men’s Basketball team? Read this article to learn more about them.

The Orono Spartans Boys Basketball Team will make a return to the court later this month for the first time in the 2023-2024 season. Orono ended the prior season with a 25-7 record, section 6AAA Championship, and third place finish in the class AAA State Tournament after beating Alexandria to end the season.

Head coach Barry Wohler will work towards recreating last season’s success with a different looking team. After losing eight seniors, three of them starters, the Spartans will have to rely on their returning juniors and seniors.

“We have such a tough schedule this year, everyone of our non-conference games besides one team is ranked top ten in Class AAA or AAAA. It’s a new group of guys this year with new chemistry and we’ll see how they come together as a team. But our expectation is to win the conference section then state,” Wohler said.

Two key returning starters include 6’3” junior guard Nolan Groves and 6’9” junior forward Brady Wooley. Also playing a key role will be 6’1” senior guard Riley Nelson who was a key contributor off the bench.

“Our expectations for this year is to finish what we started last year and It was really hard losing all the seniors from last year. We not only miss them on the court but off the court as well. With that being said I have loads of confidence in the group of guys we have this year,” Groves said.

Groves was the second leading scorer (13.4) ppg last season, an active knockdown shooter from anywhere on the court. Wooley is also looking to have a major role in the offense this season. These players will be working to fill the roles from last year’s seniors also include 6’0” senior point guard Owen Hirt, 6’6” forward Logan Chappell, junior shooting guards 6’4” Nathen Chavez and 6’2” Mitchell Kauch, and 6’0 point guard Lucas Knudson.

“We are gonna make a lot of improvements throughout the year, and have a lot of new guys that are gonna play more than they did last year, so we will have to adapt to that and we’ll be a very strong team…we got the talent,” Wooley said.

The Spartans open up the season on November 30th at Hopkins and have their first home game on December 5th facing off against Minnehaha Academy. Later this December the Spartans will take part in the Granite City Classic. With the first game being played on December 29th at St. Cloud State University against Mankato East, then on the 30th against Stewartville at St. John’s University

The Metro-West Conference will be a competitive conference this upcoming year. Along with Orono, pre-season rankings indicate Benilde St. Margaret’s, Waconia, and Chanhassen are expected to be top teams fighting to be the conference winner.

Orono will contend in the Section 6AAA with an opportunity to advance into the MSHSL State tournament that will take place in March 2024. Delano, Benilde St. Margaret’s, and Mound are also expected to be competitive teams in the section.

“Our expectation is going to state and hopefully winning state, losing the seniors is tough. A lot of them were great leaders on and off the court but I think people can fill that role,” Nelson said.
Regardless of outcome, the Orono team is well positioned to be a strong contender this season. If their pre-season competitive attitude is a sign, fans will enjoy some exciting basketball this season.

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Jackson Woodburn, Staff Writer

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