Saxony embarks on varsity basketball era

Friday, November 28, 2003

Saxony Lutheran's young sports program made a splash into the varsity sports world in the fall when its cross country team went to the state meet in its first year.

Now the school's second varsity team, the boys basketball team, will try to put up similar results as a member of the Mississippi Valley Conference.

"They set the bar high," Saxony Lutheran coach John Daniel said of the cross country team.

Sophomore guard Lauren Lueders, along with the rest of Saxony Lutheran's varsity squad -- which has only two upper classmen -- will be out to prove they belong when they start their first varsity schedule at home against Chaffee on Dec. 5.

"We're all really excited about being the pioneers," Daniel said.

Saxony Lutheran has all five starters back from last year's squad, which finished 18-4 against junior varsity and freshmen teams. That team won 15 of its last 16.

This year's team will make its debut in the Mississippi Valley Conference with home-and-away series with most of the conference teams. Daniel said the team probably could have waited another year to start its varsity program, but the opportunity to join a local conference right away was too appealing for scheduling purposes.

"Since we were able to join the Mississippi Conference," he said, "it gave us seven games and a tournament right off the bat."

Being the new kid on the block means a lot of road games, though. Saxony Lutheran will play only six home games compared to 13 on the road. Six of the Crusaders' first eight games are on the road.

"I think last year we played only five games at home," Daniel said, "so we're used to going on the road and playing."

Daniel said 15 players in a 57-student school tried out for the varsity and junior varsity teams.

"As young as we are with only one junior and one senior, quite a few of our players will get some junior varsity action as well," Daniel said.

The Crusaders' starting five contains only one upperclassmen, with leading scorer Tim Lorenz only a sophomore. Lorenz is joined by returning starters Lueders (sophomore), Trey Maevers (sophomore), Casey Petzoldt (sophomore) and John Volkerding (junior).

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