Reece Bader poses. Photo credit: Lana Hebda

Keaton Rine and Reece Bader are both seniors at Waverly High School with high hopes for the Waverly Vikings as basketball season is set to begin at the end of the month.

The Waverly Vikings held a 10-11 record last season, ending their season in late February against the Crete Cardinals, losing 60-41.

This 2022-2023 team had six seniors on varsity, and when asked about how the team would be replacing these six seniors, Rine emphasized that practicing against older players such as these seniors, prepared this year’s team to fill the shoes of the graduating seniors. Bader stated “I was practicing against them for the last two years, and that just made me better every day. Going into this year it is still about getting better every day, and the experience will just come with it.”

The 2022-2023 Waverly Vikings had a negative point differential of -39, and when asked how the Vikings would change that this season Rine replied “This summer we played hard, we didn’t win every game, but every game we competed, and it was always close. I think that is a thing that is going to help us, whether it is a win or a loss I think it’s always going to be close.”

Both Rine and Bader said that moving around, rebounding, and athleticism are the team’s greatest strengths on defense. “We help each other out with our help-side defense, and every guy on the floor can rebound really well,” said Bader.

On the offensive side of the ball, ball movement and shooting ability were mentioned. “I think this summer, we all got a really good feel for what everyone is good at, and once you know that about your whole team, it is easier to put the team in good situations to score,” said Rine.

“We have shooters all over the floor, everyone on our team this year can shoot the ball at a high rate if they need it. That and a mix of really good drivers and three-point shooters makes it all-around hard to guard,” Bader responded.

The Waverly Vikings are set to open their season against the Norris Titans at 7:30 p.m. on November 30 in Norris, Nebraska.