New look Mustangs have a lot to live up to

MONROE — Perennial success can be both a blessing and a curse. Prairie City-Monroe’s boys basketball team has won the last four Heart of Iowa Conference titles, but the Mustangs face a challenge this season, albeit a familiar one.

PCM loses four seniors off of last year’s squad, a challegne no coach is happy to take on, but the Mustangs have done this for the second year in a row. If last year’s conference championship is any indication, the talent well is far from empty on the court.

“You never know how everything is going to come together until the games start,” head coach Fred Lorensen said. “We’ve lost four senior starters for the second straight year. That’s normally not a good sign, but we have kids that are playing really well. We have a couple seniors that were playing on JV for most of last year that are playing really well. We’re excited about our team.”

The biggest issue for PCM may be backcourt play. Nathan Vande Wall and Ethan Kain made up essentially a two point guard backcourt, which is something absent from this year’s team, but the talent coming in is skilled in different areas. Lorensen is hopeful and confident that ball-handling by committee will work out just fine.

“We’re really not very well defined this year. We don’t have a true point guard. It’s going to be kind of a committee effort,” Lorensen said. “When Trey (Lindsay) or Ricky (Reeve) or Troy (Vittetoe) are in the game, those kids are obviously more point guard-material, but we may have times when none of those kids are in the game. That’s when it could be about anybody. Dillon Bruxvoort is our biggest kid, but he handles the ball really well. Logan (Gilman) handles the ball really well. They can all do stuff with it.”

Expectation-wise, this year’s squad will be no different. Every team will give PCM its best shot, knowing what Lorensen has been able to build in his tenure with the Mustangs.

“Our expectations are about the same every year,” Lorensen said. “We want to contend in the conference for the conference championship and then be playing really well when the tournaments get started. If we can do those two things, we’ll be OK.”