LONG CREEK - Any victory the Long Creek High School boys basketball team picks up the season will put the Mountaineers one ahead of how the squad did last year.
Struggling during the 2002-03 season with a number of inexperienced players, Long Creek failed to win a game either in preseason or in the TriCo League, but under the direction of new head coach Kelly Brown the Mountaineers have a positive attitude and are in hopes of meeting with success this year.
"We still have some work to do and some of the guys on this team haven't touched a basketball before," Brown said. "We're planning on going out and having some fun and do the best we can this season, that's all we can do."
The Mountaineers have some talented, experienced players returning to the lineup, including senior Travis Brown and junior Ben Corley who both had a lot of playing time last year.
Joining Brown, who is in his fourth season on the team, and Corley in his third year, are sophomores Craig Hunt, James Norris and Casey Witt who all saw some court time last year and have returned a year older and a year smarter.
Also returning to the roster in junior Tyler Cramer.
One senior and six foreign exchange fill the remaining seven positions on the 13-player Mountaineer roster.
Leading the group are "home-grown" senior Kyle Brush and senior exchange student Gabriel Valdez from Bolivia, along with junior exchange students Freddy Meyer and Fredrik Musa from Germany and Sweden respectively.
Juniors Harvey Vrljic from Croatia and One Anegsunankul from Cambodia will also be contributing their talents, as will sophomore Joon Han from South Korea.
Coach Brown said this will be his first season coaching high school basketball, but noted he has prior experience coaching youth baseball.
"This season should be a learning experience for me, but I have a lot of good kids on this team who have been working hard in practice," he said. "All of them have good attitudes and I think we are going to do well this year."
The Mountaineers open the season on Thursday, Dec. 11, hosting the Prairie City junior varsity, before taking on the Panthers in a return game on their home court on Friday, Dec. 12.
Long Creek will be idle until Jan. 2-3 when the Mountaineers host the annual Long Creek Tournament.