Senior point guard Travis Beetch returns as the only returning starter for the 2019-2020 Abilene Cowboys as they try to defend its North Central Kansas League Championship.
The Cowboys under the direction of head coach Terry Taylor begin the season tonight with the annual pre-season scrimmage at the AHS gym. Taylor (663-346) enters his 46th season coaching basketball with the last 13 at the helm of the Cowboys.
Beetch helped lead the Cowboys to an 18-4 record a year ago. Averaging 10.2 points per game, the 6-4 senior averaged 3.1 assists per contest and was named to the first team NCKL team last year.
“Over the past nine years the Cowboys have dominated the NCKL, going 78-11 for an 88% winning percent that included seven league championships,” Taylor said. “We also finished second once and had one third place finish during that time. Also, the Cowboys have a combined 160-46 record (78%) in all games over the past nine seasons. Our team will be making a strong bid to continue the winning tradition at AHS.”
Beetch is the lone returning starter but Taylor and assistant coaches Erik Graefe and Kyle Taylor will welcome back juniors Avery Bryson and Josh Stuber along with sophomore Kaleb Becker who all played significant minutes off the bench last year.
Becker (6-4) averaged 8.1 points per game and also 4 rebounds was named Honorable Mention NCKL during his freshman campaign. Stuber (6-3) and Bryson (6-3) appeared in two quarters per varsity contest after leading the junior varsity to a 14-3 record. Stuber averaged 6.1 points per game while Bryson popped in seven.
Also returning are seniors Matt Davis (5-11) and Jayshaun Jones (5-10) and juniors Blaise McVan (5-9) and Grant Heintz (6-8). Davis scored an average five points per game with 4.1 rebounds a game while Jones shot in 4.6 points a game. McVan shoots the three-ball and averaged 12 points a contest while Heintz brings down 6.8 rebounds a game.
Taylor and staff must replace six graduated seniors off the 2018-19 season. Gone are Tim Barbieri, Preston Boyd, Wyatt Davis, Damian Hartman, James Mayden and Colton McVan.
“We have enough pieces to be a very solid team in Class 4A,” Taylor said. “Our challenge will be coming together as a team, develop new team leaders and improve our perimeter shooting, which has been a weakness over the past several years.”
Abilene begins the regular season on Friday as they host Smoky Valley in a non-conference contest.
Dec. 6 vs. Smoky Valley
Dec. 10 at Rock Creek
Dec. 13 vs. Augusta
Dec. 20 at Concordia
Jan. 7 at Chapman
Jan. 10 at Marysville
Jan. 14 at Wamego
Jan. 17 vs. Clay Center
Jan. 23 – 25 at SIT – Salina
Jan. 28 vs. Concordia
Jan. 31 vs. TMP
Feb. 7 vs. Marysville
Feb. 11 at Council Grove
Feb. 14 vs. Wamego
Feb. 18 at Hays
Feb. 21 at Clay Center
Feb. 25 vs. Chapman
Feb. 27 vs. Hays
March 2 – 7 Sub-State – TBD
March 11-14 State at Salina - TBD