RETZWILL – Lind-Ritzville’s basketball team will be full of familiar faces. With none of the Broncos’ seniors last year, much of the team will remain the same when they hit the field in the 2022-2023 campaign.
“Everyone came back from last year; as a collegiate team, we didn’t graduate any seniors,” said head coach Dustan Arlt. “So we brought all these kids back, plus we have a very large freshman class.”
Having veteran experience on the field will help the Broncos, as they hope to improve this season after finishing fourth in the Northeast 2B League last season.
“It’s a very strong league, but we’ll be there,” Arlt said. “Last year we finished fourth in the provincials, one match behind. So, we’re looking forward to making the next leap.”
The team traveled to the West Side of Washington for a camp on the coast. Summer is where he can get his first look at the team, Arlt said, though it’s not always a true testament to the team’s performance once the regular season rolls around.
“Sometimes summer is a great indicator, and sometimes I have summers where we don’t do that well and we do really well in the season, and vice versa,” Arlt said. “With everyone coming back, this summer has been about to get better. A few areas we need to improve on and areas that we might have been successful in last year, and improve those areas.
With a strong veteran core, Summer Ball lets new players get a feel for the game Lind-Ritzville plays and coaches Arlt. Camps also allow boys to create chemistry off the field.
“It gives me a chance, with a group of freshmen, to see these guys for a month before the season starts in the winter,” Arlt said. “Going to camp on the West Side, we stayed three nights in class together. So you get a lot of basketball, but you also get a lot of team camaraderie and the social part of it.”
An early end to Lind-Ritzvlle’s football season allowed the entire team to practice with each other, since the vast majority of the team also fit the Broncos into the field. Now, instead of joining in for practices a week or two later, this year’s varsity team has extra time to get together and get in basketball shape.
“It really gets them to take the shape of basketball, work out some kinks and get used to the touch and feel of basketball game after football,” Arlt said. “But, I’m pretty confident we’ll be willing to step in and do most of the things we want to do.”
The mix of athleticism and experience will be the Broncos’ strength this season according to Arlt, as they have an athletic team that can both defend and shoot the ball as well as several running backs.
“We played one game without going into the communities last year, and we did it without any seniors last year,” said Arlt. “Now we have five seniors and some young kids to socialize with, so hopefully this experience will help push us over that edge.”
Fans can get ready to watch a fast-paced game when Lind-Ritzville comes to town.
“I like to play at a higher pace and push the ball,” Arlt said. “Obviously with everyone coming back and the depth we have, we have the tools to do what I want to do. We have a good mix, we can get in, we have a number of strong positions. We also have a lot of shooters.”
In order for him to make it through the Northeast 2B League championship and qualify for state, Arlt said the Broncos will need to work on free throws and three-point shooting.
“Ultimately, we’re going to play some good teams and not always be able to push the ball, drive alongside people, get passes,” Arlt said. “We’re going to have to be able to drop shots and then come hard at the free throw line. That kind of hurt us at times from last year.”
The main returnees are Chase Galbraith, who averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds a year ago; sophomore Jayce Kelly, who scored 14 points and eight rebounds while starting every game as a freshman; Senior Hunter Dinkins, team’s third leading scorer from 2021-2022 and team captain.
Lind-Ritzweil ends the season at home against Almira/Cole-Hartline on December 3.
December 3 – vs. ACH – 6 p.m
December 7 – opposite Asotin – 7:30 p.m
December 9 – @ Medical Lake – 7:30 PM
December 13 – @ Liberty (Spangle) – 7:30 PM
December 17 – @ Colfax – 6 p.m
Dec. 20 – Columbia (Burbank) – 7:30 p.m
December 21 – Tri-Cities Prep Game – 7:30 p.m
January 3 – @ Warden – 7:30 pm
Jan 6 – @Northwest Christian (Colbert) – 7:30pm
January 7 – Shweila match – 6 pm
January 11 – in front of Columbia Senior Academy – 7:30 p.m
Jan 13 – @St.George – 7:30pm
January 14 – Davenport game – 6 p.m
January 17 – Opposite Reardan – 7:30 p.m
Jan 20 – @ Kettle Falls – 7:30pm
Jan. 24 – Liberty (Spangle) – 7:30 p.m
January 27 – Colfax Game – 7:30 p.m
Jan 28 – @Asotin – 6 p.m
January 31 – vs. Kittitas – 7:30 p.m
February 2nd – @ Columbia Senior Academy – 7:30pm