Notre Dame boys preview: Bulldogs hope speed burns opponents

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Notre Dame limped through the regular season last year, only to make an improbable run through the postseason, which earned the Bulldogs their first trip to the state final four since winning consecutive state titles in 1986 and 1987.

"We were in a lot of games last year we didn't win," Notre Dame coach Paul Hale said. "We came on really well at the end, but we played well all year."

How the Bulldogs replace Bryce Willen -- whose return from knee surgery late in his senior season sparked Notre Dame's postseason run -- will have a lot to say about their campaign.

One player who will be looked on to pick up some of the slack is Bryce's younger brother, Ryan Willen. The sophomore is a 6-foot-6 forward.

"We're hoping his brother can pick up a little bit of that," Hale said. "I have high hopes for him."

Notre Dame also has its leading scorer back from last year, 6-3 senior center Alex Ressel. Ressel averaged about 13 points a game last season, but missed the first few weeks of practice this year due to an injury.

Hale, who said he is hopeful Ressel will be healthy by the first game, knows scoring will be a question mark for his squad.

"We'll be as good as what we can score," Hale said. "We still don't have tremendous scorers as of now. Potentially we do. We just have unproven scorers."

The Bulldogs will have to replace several senior starters from last year, but do add senior guard Xavier Delph, who had to play at the junior varsity level last year after transferring from Central. The speed and athleticism of guards Frankie Ellis and Delph could give opposing teams fits.

"That's going to be one of our strengths. We'll be really quick," Hale said. "I can put out a really fast team."


Coach: Paul Hale, second season

Assistants: Kevin Roberts, Josh Sparkman, Brett Hale

Last season: 14-18, fourth in Class 4 state tournament

Confernce: SEMO Conference

Returning starters

Alex Ressel6-3Sr.C
Frankie Ellis5-7Sr.G

Rest of roster

Abe Dirnberger, 6-0, Jr., G; Xavier Delph, 5-9, Sr., G; Mark Himmelberg, 6-2, So., F; Ty Williams, 5-10, So., G; Kirk Boeller, 6-0, Sr., G; Ryan Willen, 6-6, So., F; Jacob Essner, 5-10, Sr., G; Jay Simmons, 6-0, So., G; Brandon Hozlum, 6-1, Sr., F; Lucas Dirnberger, 6-1, Sr., F; Logan Haines, 6-3, Sr., C; Chad Friend, 6-0, Jr., F


Nov. 28-Dec. 2 -- Woodland Invitational

Dec. 6 -- at Dexter, 6 p.m.

Dec. 9 -- Fredericktown, 6 p.m.

Dec. 10 -- DuQuoin, Ill. (Heartland Hoopfest), 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 13 -- New Madrid County, 5 p.m.

Dec. 16 -- Sikeston, 6 p.m.

Dec. 22 -- at St. Vincent, 6 p.m.

Dec. 26-30 -- SE Missourian Christmas Tournament

Jan. 3 -- Charleston, 6 p.m.

Jan. 7 -- MICDS (Central Shootout), TBA

Jan. 10 -- at Ste. Genevieve, 6 p.m.

Jan. 13 -- Jackson, 6 p.m.

Jan. 20 -- at Saxony Lutheran, 6 p.m.

Jan. 24 -- Kelly, 5 p.m.

Jan. 26 -- Perryville, 5 p.m.

Jan. 31 -- at Central, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 4 -- at Anna-Jonesboro, Ill., 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 7 -- at Kennett, 6 p.m.

Feb. 10 -- Poplar Bluff, 6 p.m.

Feb. 14 -- at Caruthersville, 6 p.m.

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