After a season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, the boys varsity basketball team is ready to show up on the court. The coaches and players are excited to see a full schedule for some of the players’ first full varsity season. “This being a year where we have kind of a full schedule back again and a more traditional situation, it’s super exciting for our players,” Head Coach Chad Pohlmann says.

Last year, the team was only able to get in six games, so now with the restrictions lifted, the whole team is eager for their return to the court.

“To have a full 30-game schedule is a great opportunity,” Pohlmann says.

While Pohlmann shows a lot of excitement for the upcoming season, it’s looking to be a challenging one, with the team’s first tournament coming on Nov. 22: Hoops 4 Healing. Teams from around the area all compete with the proceeds benefiting the Edwards Cancer Center. To find out more about the tournament there is information on the Oswego High School Website.

“Every team in the tournament has traditionally been a really good program,” Pohlmann says.

WIth the season being a mix of tournaments, non-conference, and conference games, the Panthers look to battle through all the competition. Some of the other tournaments include a trip to DeKalb for the 93rd Annual Chuck Dayton Classic, which is one of the oldest tournaments in the state. 

“[The Panthers’] non-conference schedule is really tough, and highlighted by a trip to Bloomington, where we’ll play Normal West, who’s going to be probably ranked in the AP Poll to start the season,” Pohlmann says.

In order to prepare for these tough matchups, the team has focused on being committment. 

“If you are going to be successful, you have to be willing to show up and put time in on things, and that’s been a major emphasis,” Pohlmann says. 

Pohlmann is proud of the work that his players have put in over the offseason and is excited to get back to work.

“We have some really exciting players coming back,” Pohlmann says.

One of these players, junior Max Niesman, is the team’s returning all-conference player. He is excited to be playing his first full varsity season and to continue being a leader for the team.

“I’m the point guard, so the point guard is usually the leader. I bring my guys together, tell them what to do, make sure they’re on their stuff,” Niesman says. He looks to lead the team against who he believes to be their toughest opponent of the season: Oswego East. 

“That’s usually our rival, and especially this year, they are really good, so it would be nice to beat them,” Niesman says.

When asked about the team’s mindset going into the beginning of the season, and preparing for its first tournament on Nov. 22, Max Niesman shared that it is the first games of the season. He added that they have new players on the team so it is going to be hard for them to get comfortable on the team. Despite having the new players and starting a new season, the team looks to do their best.

“Obviously play hard, but if we lose, it’s ok. It’s the start of the season, but by the end of the season we should try to be better by the playoffs,” Max says.

The season is set to be a challenging but exciting one. Students and fans interested in attending the Panthers’ games can find the schedule here.

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