By Chris Parker
Expectations are high for Golden City in coach Michael Reeves’ first season as head coach. The Eagles return a talented core of players from last season’s team that brought home the program’s first district championship in 15 seasons.
Leading the way is one of the area’s most prolific scorers in senior Arlo Stump. Stump, who has scored 2,084 points in his career, averaged 27.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last year.
“What makes him such a talented scorer is his IQ, athleticism and work ethic. Arlo is always in the gym working on his craft and will always listen to criticism on how he can become better. His basketball IQ is very high and he understands where the defense is going to be and how he can adjust to get a better shot. His athleticism allows him to adjust mid-shot on the way to basket without missing a beat and it allows him to be able to post up some as well. He will be the first one to tell you that is our team that helps him score as well. We have other double-digit scorers and lots of shooters on the team. Without his teammates he would not be able to get the shots that he gets as other teams would lock down on him more,” Reeves said. “My expectations are for him to come into practice each and every day bringing energy for the rest of the team and making sure that everyone is focused and ready to get better. During games he is our guy when we need a basket and when things are not going right he is our vocal leader to help the team back in sync.”
While Stump primarily patrols the perimeter, junior Lane Dunlap will be a force in the paint once again. He averaged 16.5 points and 10.1 rebound per game last year.
“Lane’s biggest assets on the basketball court is his mental and physical toughness,” Reeves said. “Lane plays linebacker for football, and although he is not our tallest guy he takes that same mentality from the field to the court. He is physical enough to guard the other team’s center and still quick to go out top and guard another team’s guard. His finishing around the basket is some of the best I’ve seen and he’s still able to step out and knock down 3’s.”
Junior Chain Parrill is Golden City’s third player returning after averaging double figures in scoring in 2018-19. Parrill scored 11.5 points per game as a sophomore.
“It is the greatest luxury to have Chain as a third scoring option. Chain relieves pressure off of Lane and Arlo by his ability to score. Chain had 13 games with multiple 3’s last year. He is a shooter that is ready to shoot whenever and wherever he catches, but he also a very capable driver and finisher whenever the defense over plays him,” Reeves said.
Seniors Eliab Cifuentes, Ryan Sheets and Talon Besendorfer along with junior Matthew Weiser also return to the varsity lineup. Junior Seth Miller along with sophomores Max Parrill and Elijah Pettengill are in the mix for varsity minutes this season.
Golden City will be able to score on any team they face, but Reeves would like to see a stronger performance on the defensive end.
“Our team must improve on defense and taking care of the ball. We have the athleticism, speed and toughness to be really good at defense but at times we lose focus and relax, and that’s when teams hurt us. For us to get where we want to go we have got to be locked in at all times. Our offense scores the ball at a high rate to help overcome some of the defensive woes but turnovers hurt us last year and this summer. Once we can keep our turnovers down to a low rate and hold on to the ball in key positions then this will be a hard team to beat the stretch,” Reeves said.
Reeves hopes his team can make a deep playoff run in his first season as head coach.
“Our expectations are high,” Reeves said. “Coming off the school’s first district championship in 15 years we would like to try and ride that success and go further than the sectional round this year.”
Golden City opens the season on Nov. 26 at home against Jasper.