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Boys basketball: Snow will be focal point for Rebels

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Columbine senior shoulders leadership role for Jeffco champs

By Michael Hicks

Jon Snow won’t have to look too hard to recognize that the 2012-13 Columbine Rebels’ boys basketball team has a different makeup than the past two seasons.
In head coach Clay Thielking’s first couple of years at the helm he’s only led Columbine to a 36-15 record, including a 21-5 season a year ago which included a 5A Jeffco League title and a berth in the Great Eight. That’s quite the change from the four previous losing seasons from 2006-2010.
But the Rebels graduated three of their top four scorers in Nick Carpinello (11.8 points per game), Chris Huth (9.4) and Josh Daly (7.2) from last year’s squad. Yet, Snow isn’t concerned.
“We have good chemistry, really good size,” Snow said. “We’re a pretty tall team.”
That helps negate the graduation of forwards Huth and Alex Hoop as well as, in some ways, guard Daly. But when it comes to replacing point guard Carpinello, who had a team-high 97 assists in 2011-12, it may take more than a player or two to do so.
“Last year, Nick was our guy. He was our heart and soul,” Thielking said. “But we have a number of guys who can take over that. It’s not just one person. Jon will become a lot more of the focus, and he has assumed a leadership role. He is one of our captains.”
The team will look to Garrett Hyde as a possible solution at point guard, while others such as Tyler McMinimee and Brad Crowther, who was third on the team last year in rebounds with 108, will step into more pivotal starring roles. But there’s little question, considering Snow returns after leading Columbine in points (14.8 ppg) and rebounds (184) a season ago, that he will be the team’s go-to guy, especially on offense, early on.
“We have a lot of seniors on the team this year. It’s a good environment. I don’t think there’s any one guy as a leader. We work together really well,” Snow said. “I’ll add to that and help out by being a leader, setting an example on the court in games and in practice. I feel some of that responsibility.”
“Obviously, our offense will mostly go through Jon. We’ll need to get him a lot of touches,” Thielking said.
That said, the Rebels know that the key to their success will come on the defensive end. The more Thielking’s team can defend the more likely it will succeed and won’t have to rely on one player — Snow — to carry the load.
“I think we’re going to be a great team. We have a great group of guys who work really hard,” Snow said. “We did lose some important parts of our game, but we have plenty of guys that can step up. That’s going to be very important.”

COLUMBINE REBELS
Head coach: Clay Thielking
Assistant coaches: David Berghoefer, Lorens Knudsen, Mark Wolf
Conference: 5A Jeffco League
2011-12 record: 21-5
Players to watch: Jon Snow, Sr., F/C; Garrett Hyde, Sr., PG; Tyler McMinimee, Sr., SG; Brad Crowther, Sr., F
Season opener: Nov. 28, vs. Regis Jesuit, 7 p.m.
Outlook: The cupboards aren’t totally bare for a Columbine team that won the 5A Jeffco League with a 14-2 mark and reached the state quarterfinals before losing to eventual state champion Chaparral. But the Rebels did graduate four starters from last year, so there are a number of unanswerd questions.
Quotable: “We’ve got a lot of guys getting quality time for the first time as varsity players. It’s unique as we have a good number of seniors who have not had a lot of varsity minutes,” Thielking said.
— Michael Hicks

CHATFIELD CHARGERS
Head coach: Steve Schimpeler
Assistant coaches: Gary Anderson, Paul Lowe, Todd Glasser, Brad Simons
Conference: 5A Jeffco League
2011-12 record: 14-11
Players to watch: Brenden Mann, Sr., G; Michael Hampson, Sr., G; Hank Dickey, Sr., G; Anthony Shoeboot, Sr., G
Season opener: Nov. 30, vs. Douglas County, 7 p.m.
Outlook: The Chargers are coming off a season in which they placed third in the 5A Jeffco League with an 11-5 mark and reached the second round of the 5A state tournament. But for the Chargers to be successful this season they’ll have to utilize their usual fast-tempo pace, led by Mann.
Quotable: “The faster we are the better,” Schimpeler said of his guard-predominant team playing an uptempo style.
— Michael Hicks

DAKOTA RIDGE EAGLES
Head coach: Curi Yutzy
Assistant coaches: Mike Lundy, Doug Mitchell
Conference: 5A Jeffco League
2011-12 record: 12-13
Players to watch: Elijah Davis, Sr., F; Austin Genthe, Sr., F; Jake Flores, Jr., PG; Matt Silvas, Sr., SG
Season opener: Nov. 28, at Fossil Ridge Tournament, 7 p.m.
Outlook: Dakota Ridge went 9-7 in the 5A Jeffco League. The Eagles gave top-seeded Chaparral a scare in the second round of the 5A state playoffs before falling 60-58. That said, Dakota Ridge graduated five of its top seven scorers from last season, including top scorer Abdullah Musleh.
Quotable: “We have a pretty challenging non-conference schedule,” Yutzy said of the three-game Fossil Ridge tournament followed by games with Arapahoe, Highlands Ranch, Doherty and Legend. “It’s good for our kids.”
— Michael Hicks

LITTLETON LIONS
Head coach: Dan Ellis
Assistant coaches: Jay Brown,
Kevin Brooks
Conference: 5A/4A Continental
2011-12 record: 5-18
Players to watch: Nicolas Giordano, Sr., G; Andreas Malmstrom, Sr., G/F; Ashton Malmstrom, Sr., G/F
Season opener: Nov. 28, at Arapahoe, 7 p.m.
Outlook: Littleton struggled to a 2-9 mark in league play last season, but it returns its top three scorers. Ellis takes over as the varsity head coach after leading Littleton’s JV program the past three seasons.
Quotable: “Our emphasis for the season is changing the culture of the
basketball program at LHS,” Ellis said.
— Michael Hicks

FRONT RANGE CHRISTIAN FALCONS
Head coach: Brad Folk
Assistant coaches: Vaughn Larsen, Dennis Raarup, Ken Hayes, Tito Garcia
Conference: 2A Mile High
2011-12 record: 14-9
Players to watch: Ty Gautier, Sr., G; Connor Rhodes, Sr., F; Leif Larsen, Sr., G; Boomer Bate, Jr., F; Cobi Jones, Jr., F
Season opener: Nov. 30, vs. Elbert at Kiowa Invitational, 8:30 p.m.
Outlook: The Falcons were just 4-5 in league play, but made it out of 2A district play and qualified for regionals before falling to Sargent. Folk takes over for Mike Anderson, who coached both the boys and girls varsity teams in 2011-12. Anderson is still FRCS’ girls coach.
Quotable: “This upcoming season is very exciting for the Falcon program.  Our players are learning a new system and are working hard to come together as a team,” Folk said.
— Michael Hicks