By Chris Parker
Galena boys basketball won 15 combined games in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Last year alone the Bears won 15 games in and finished above .500 for the first time since 2012.
“Continuity and expectations of having them three years (led to improvement),” Galena head coach David Sherer said. “But more importantly, their desire to want to get better, be coachable and spending more time in the gym with a purpose.”
Seniors Wyatt Snelson and Zayne Gale will be team leaders for Galena this year.
Snelson is a three-year starter who earned second-team all-conference honors as a junior and honorable mention all-conference honors as a sophomore. He averaged a double-double for the second year in arrow with 18.2 points and 10.1 rebounds per game along with 2.3 steals and 1.4 assists per game.
“(His greatest asset is) rebounding and his motor never stops,” Sherer said. “(I expect him to) just go be himself, play within his abilities and lead by his hard work and his desire to compete.”
Gale earned first-team all-conference honors at Spokane last season where he averaged 17.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
“Zayne has the ability to make others around him better. He understands the team concept along with the importance of each player and their role,” Sherer said.
Junior Ethan Bailey has shown improvement in the off-season after he averaged 4.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal per game as a sophomore.
“He is a better athlete. He was challenged by the coaching staff in some areas to improve and he responded by putting in the work. He has not only improved physically but mentally as well,” Sherer said.
Sophomore point guard Colton Ellingsworth has also grown since last season and shown improvements in his game.
Senior Logan Thompson returns to the post, and sophomore Brayden Sartin returns at guard.
“(Thompson) just likes to compete. Has put in the time to become much stronger in the upper and lower body. Much more physical than a year ago. Love his toughness,” Sherer said. “(Sartin’s) approach and dedication to both sides of the ball are improving each day.”
McHale Hyde is a newcomer to Galena basketball as a senior. He was at Republic as a freshman and didn’t play his past two years at Galena.
“(He is) long and fast. (He is) very instinctive and has a nose for the ball. (He is a) great defender, as he has played a ton of Lacrosse and understands his feet,” Sherer said.
Seniors Grant Harness and Preston Essary along with sophomore transfer Tucker Poole will also be new players to watch.
The early season will be about learning with all of the new players Galena has this year.
“With so many new parts the first seven to eight games are going to be a work in progress. Our defense should be ahead of our offense until Christmas and about then we will find our identity,” Sherer said.
Galena opens the season on Nov. 20 at home against Niangua.