Righting the ship

Bishop Ryan boys basketball coach Brock Teets knows what a successful program looks like.

He was at the helm of one for the last five years with fellow District 12 member Berthold.

Teets guided the Bombers to three state tournament appearances between 2009 and 2012, including a runner-up finish to Carrington in 2010. Now, the first-year Ryan coach aims to steer the Lions in the right direction after a tumultuous 2012-13 campaign that finished with a loss to Rugby in the opening round of the Region 6 tournament.

“The transition’s been going well,” Teets said. “Every day I’m learning a little bit more about each kid. It’s going to take some time to get familiar with what we can do and know what we need to work on. The kids are getting acclimated to me and vice versa.”

Said senior guard Brody Bosch: “He’s definitely a coach you want to play for and win for. He’s easy to get along with. You can see he wants us to succeed.”

Last season was a roller coaster, filled with thrilling victories, blowout losses and turmoil. The Lions began the season 3-0 before dropping six of their next eight contests. Former Ryan coach Scott Medalen was dismissed Feb. 7 – two days after a lopsided defeat to Our Redeemer’s Christian School – and replaced by assistant coach Tyler Ystaas for the remaining five games. Ystaas will continue to be an assistant on Teets’ staff.

With four seniors – Bosch, Austin Eggl, Nick Berentson and Jacob Magnuson – the Lions return experience, but not height. Junior center Jared Will is Ryan’s tallest player at 6-foot-3. The lack of height is nothing new for Teets. During his time with Berthold, the Bombers sported a small roster, but found success in the rebounding department.

“We really need to put an emphasis on the defensive end,” Teets said. “Things we’ve been working on includes rebounding. … I believe rebounding wins basketball games, so we have to tighten that up quite a bit.”

Teets said Berthold was outrebounded just once last year – a loss to Westhope-Newburg in the region semifinals.

Teets has also changed the offensive playbook. His focus is more on pushing the ball up the court and using Ryan’s speed to its advantage. The Lions have plenty of scoring threats, starting with Bosch, who led the Lions with 15 points per game and was an all-district selection. Will (9 ppg) and Eggl (8 ppg) round out the Lions’ top three scorers from a year ago.

“It’s different from last year,” Bosch said. “He definitely allows us to do a lot more. We’re going to push a lot more and use that speed. Practices are a lot different. More running up and down the court.”

Teets said the entire team will have to contribute with the implementation of an uptempo offense.

“Our depth as the year goes on is only going to get better,” he said. “We have some younger kids that are really going to have to contribute because of the style we want to play.”

The Lions see themselves as a contender in the district behind Des Lacs-Burlington. Each game is important, but if there’s one contest Teets has circled it’s Ryan’s district opener Jan. 9 at Berthold. The former Bomber coach said that will be a “tough night.”

“Leaving Berthold was not easy for me,” Teets said. “I’ve built some really good relationships out there. I have all the respect in the world for the kids out there. They work their tail off. This move wasn’t personal to Bishop Ryan; it was more of a family-type move. That’s going to be a tough game on me.”

Mike Kraft covers high school athletics and hockey. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.