How Southeast Of Saline Boys Basketball Makes Up For Lack Of Seniors

Southeast of Saline's Eli Sawyers (35) attempts to block a shot against Sacred Heart's Michael Matteucci (2) during their game in December 2020 at the Sacred Heart gym.

When Bryson Flax took over the Southeast of Saline boys program three years in the past, he knew he would have stable contributors throughout starting together with his first freshmen class.

Of these freshmen, now seniors, the three that had been nonetheless enjoying basketball determined to pursue different alternatives. 

However, is not affecting the Trojans heading into the 2021-22 season. Even and not using a single senior on their roster, the Trojans have a core group returning with the junior and sophomore lessons. 


“These guys have been with me ever since they have been within the program (and) I have been teaching them,” stated Flax, who enters his fourth season at Southeast. “I feel it actually helps us out that so much of them have been enjoying since they had been freshmen.”

Southeast, which opens the season at Class 3A No. 1-ranked Hesston on Friday, returns two starters in 6-foot-5 ahead Eli Sawyers and Nakari Morrical-Palmer, a 6-3 guard. Sawyers, an All-North Central Actions Affiliation first-team choice and an All-Saline County decide averaged 14 factors and eight rebounds throughout his sophomore yr. 

Extra:Southeast of Saline girls basketball picking up right where they left off from 2020-21 season

“He is simply bodily greater,” Flax stated of Sawyers. “He is bodily stronger. He grew slightly bit. He is devoted himself to basketball and he is within the fitness center on a regular basis.


“He is enjoying above the rim extra usually. Defensively, I feel he is gotten a greater understanding of what we’re making an attempt to do defensively.”  

Morrical-Palmer was an honorable point out All-County choice after averaging 9.6 factors per sport. 

“He is bouncier than what he was,” Flax stated. “We’re going to have the ability to play him above the rim slightly bit. Nakari’s capturing has actually progressed in a yr and I feel that is partly (as a result of) he had a extremely busy summer time with basketball. 

“Nakari is one of the neatest basketball gamers that I’ve had an opportunity to teach.” 


Additionally again are Luke Gebhardt, Drew Richardson, Drake Augustine, Caden Isaacson, Michael Murray and Kayson Lilley. The Trojans misplaced Jake Gebhardt for the season resulting from an damage he suffered in soccer in opposition to Cheney. 

“We misplaced some depth there with (Jake Gebhardt),” Flax stated. “I have been extraordinarily impressed with Luke. He is way more improved.”

Daniel Kejr (5-foot-10) can even be added to the combo and have a while at level guard. 

“He had an ideal summer time,” Flax stated. “Danny’s capturing is coming round slightly bit. He is a extremely good passer. He is actually realized how you can play crew protection which is encouraging to see.” 

After Friday’s sport in opposition to Hesston, Southeast will journey to Smoky Valley (Dec. 7) and Abilene (Dec. 14) whereas additionally internet hosting Beloit (Dec. 10), Hillsboro (Dec. 17) and Sacred Coronary heart (Dec. 20) to spherical out the pre-Christmas schedule. 

Flax stated the Trojans’ schedule is ideal earlier than Christmas. 

“I’d relatively discover out our weaknesses and be capable to work on them early than profitable by 30 and having these weaknesses till after Christmas,” Flax stated. “I am in favor of our schedule and it is brutal. With restricted practices for some of these guys, the aim is to compete and survive earlier than Christmas after which can hopefully actually make some strides after Christmas.

“We’re gonna compete. I’ve received a bunch full of rivals that like to compete. They get after it and it is an ideal group to go to battle with.” 


Head coach: Bryson Flax (4th yr, 33-30). 

League: NCAA.

Classification: 3A.

Final yr’s file: 14-8.

Returning starters (2): Eli Sawyers, 6-5, jr., F; Nakari Morrical-Palmer, 6-3, jr., G. 

Different prime returning gamers: Drake Augustine, 5-9, jr., PG.; Michael Murray, 5-10, jr., F; Luke Gebhardt, 6-0, jr., F; Caden Issacson, 5-10, jr., F; Drew Richardson, 5-10, jr., G; Kayson Lilley, 5-9, jr., G; Jake Gebhardt, 6-3, jr, F. 


DECEMBER: 3, at Hesston; 7, at Smoky Valley; 10, Beloit; 14, at Abilene; 17, Hillsboro; 20, Sacred Coronary heart.

JANUARY: 7, at Minneapolis; 11, Clay Heart; 17-21, Sterling Invitational; 25, Republic Co.; 28, at Ellsworth.

FEBRUARY: 1, at Sacred Coronary heart; 4, Chapman; 8, at Beloit; 11, Minneapolis; 14, at Ellinwood; 15, Ellsworth; 22, at Republic Co. 

Dylan Sherwood has been a sports activities reporter for the Salina Journal since August 2019. He might be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @DSherwoodSJ

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