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Railer boys return three starters

Mark Schnabel
mschnabel@thekansan.com
Newton senior Jaxon Brackeen is a returning starter and all-league selection.

With three starters returning, the Newton High School boys’ basketball team will still have some holes to fill for the 2020-21 season.

Andy Preston returns for his fourth season as the Railer coach in two tenures. He is 25-37 at Newton.

The Railers were 8-12 last season, 4-8 in Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division I play. Under the KSHSAA new Class 5A post-season format, the Railers didn’t qualify for the sub-state tournament.

Returning starters include Jaxon Brackeen (6-2, sr., G, 12.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.1 apg, 2.0 spg), Owen Mills (6-6, jr., F, 6.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.5 bpg) and Dylan Petz (6-0, jr., G, 5.0 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.2 apg).

Brackeen was an All-AV-CTL I pick last season. He is a three-year starter.

Other returning players include Elijah Edwards (5-11, sr., G), Max Ruth (6-0, sr., F), Tanner Dorrell (6-1, jr., F), Joe Slechta (6-2, jr., G), Camden Carr (5-8, so., G), Caleb Anderson (5-9, jr., G), Nathanial Garcia (6-5, jr., F) and Ashton Castro (6-4, so., F).

“Replacing three starters to graduation will be the most prevalent question surrounding the 20-21 season,” Preston said. “The graduation of Alex Krogemier (12 ppg, 5 rpg, 2.7 spg, 2 apg), Jaheem Ray (12 ppg, 6.3 apg) and Kolyn Sauceda (9 ppg, 3 rpg, 3 spg) will be evident. However, senior reserves Max Ruth and Elijah Edwards bring two years of varsity experience and are ready for larger roles this season. Jaxon Brackeen a two-year starter and returning all-league player will look to fill the point guard duties. Owen Mills, the other returning starter, looks to build on a solid sophomore season as the Railroader’s big man. Question marks still surround our bench and depth this year. We do return a plethora of scoring options and many outside shooting threats as we continue to play an up-tempo style of basketball.”

The AV-CTL I underwent some changes in the off-season as Maize South moved up from Division II and will replace Salina Central.

Campus is the defending Division I champion and finished with an unbeaten season, beating Manhattan in the first round of Class 6A state play before the tournament was halted because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Derby lost to Campus in the sub-state finals.

Non-league opponents for Newton (schedule subject to change) include Dodge City, McPherson, Valley Center and Salina Central. Newton will return to the GWAC-AVCTL Challenge (opponent to be determined) and the Dodge City Tournament of Champions.

Schedule

(subject to revision)

Dec. 5 @ Dodge City

Dec. 8 @ McPherson

Dec. 10-12 @ GWAC-AV-CTL Challenge:

Dec. 11 vs. Wichita North at Wichita Heights (G 6 p.m.)

B TBA

Dec. 15 Hutchinson

Dec. 18 Campus

Dec. 21 @ Maize South

Jan. 8 Valley Center

Jan. 12 Salina South

Jan. 15 @ Derby

Jan. 21-23 @ Dodge City TOC (B) TBA

Jan. 28-30 Newton Inv. (G) TBA

Feb. 2 @ Maize

Feb. 5 @ Hutchinson

Feb. 9 @ Campus

Feb. 12 Maize South

Feb. 16 Derby

Feb. 19 @ Salina South

Feb. 23 Salina Central

Feb. 26 Maize

March 2-6 Sub-State TBA

March 10-13 State @ White Auditorium, Emporia