Despite having only won three games in the 2016-17 season, the Holy Angels boys basketball program feels it took a step forward this year.
B.J. Etzold, in his first year as the Holy Angels head boys basketball coach, worked to build up the team’s depth, as he was tasked with developing the younger players in the varsity program.
While it took Holy Angels a while to get going, the Stars feel they were able to have a relatively successful 2016-17 campaign.
“The record we had does not directly reflect how well our guys played,” Etzold said. “You look at our record and see only three wins, but you look at the schedule and after December we only played two teams that had a sub-.500 record, and Richfield and Holy Family are still playing.
“We had a tough schedule and we had chances to win against teams like Brooklyn Center and Columbia Heights. We had good moments and some wins, but we never fully came together.”
Holy Angels saved two of its best games of the season for last, as the Stars played tough but lost to Breck in the regular season finale Feb. 28, and in the Section 3AAA quarterfinal loss to St. Paul Highland Park March 7.
Etzold credits the team’s three seniors, Sam Boehne, Abraham Sanchez and Dan Voxland, for helping the team play well to end the year.
“I think we made some strides last year as a team, but we’re still looking for that group of guys to turn the program around and change the culture,” Etzold said. “I felt we had some ups and downs through the year, but by the end of it in those last two games, if things turn around in the next couple of years I can always look back and say these three guys were the start of what changed things.
“That was reflective of how things went against Breck and Highland Park.”
Holy Angels took a 37-25 lead into halftime against St. Paul Highland Park, but 49 second-half points from the Scots proved to be the Stars’ undoing.
“We had a game against Highland Park we should have won, but they worked to out-physical us down the stretch and they got the lead in the last 40 seconds,” Etzold said. “I felt we were playing our best basketball toward the end there.”
Boehne led the Stars with 25 points against the Scots, while Ryan Mazurek added 16 and Max Gerstner scored 12.
With the loss to St. Paul Highland Park ending its season, Holy Angels knows it has work to do to prepare for next season.
“Proven guys like Sam Boehne and Dan Voxland, good post players, we’ll look for guys that can fill those spots next year,” Etzold said. “We will be looking for some big kids to develop, but we have a lot of guards, a lot of ball handlers.
‘We have a lot of guys that love the game of basketball, we have good numbers in our freshman and sophomore classes, so things should be competitive. I like where we’re at for things and I feel we’re moving in the right direction.”
Contact Chris Chesky at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @MNSunSports or @SunSportsChris.