WAUSAUKEE — Looking to take the next step, this could be a successful year for an up-and-coming Wausaukee boys basketball team.

After the past two seasons with three and 10 wins, coach Dave Lindbeck has a more experienced team he hopes can compete in a talented M&O Conference.

“This group is gaining confidence every day,” Lindbeck said. “We’ve got some experience and talent and we’re just looking to put it all together.”

Replacing post player Matthew Delfosse could pose the biggest challenge for the Rangers, who are limited with size while relying on speed and athleticism.

“We’re going to run more on offense,” said Lindbeck. “We’ve got some good athletes and shooters. You’ll see more five-out looks.”

Junior Hayden Renikow, who was the second-leading scorer for the Rangers a season ago, is out until January with a leg injury he suffered in football and others will be asked to account for his absence.

Seniors Tyler Gruszysnki and Christian Shigouri, along with junior Brandon Shigouri, return for their third varsity seasons and Lindbeck will rely upon each of them. 

Brandon Shigouri was the Rangers’ third-leading scorer last year and can both shoot and get to the basket. Gruszynski is an outside shooter and Christian Shigouri is Wausaukee’s best ball handler.

“I expect big things from those three,” said Lindbeck. “Especially until Hayden (Renikow) returns. They’re great athletes with plenty of experience.”

Senior Kyle Struve is a versatile player Lindbeck calls the “Swiss army knife” of the team and his ability to play multiple positions will be vital. The Rangers also return junior Tristan Pollard, who gained some varsity experience a year ago and is a player that provides a much-needed inside presence for the Rangers.

Senior Logan Russ, along with juniors Cooper Rollo and Ethan Stumbris, will see ample playing time off the bench. The Rangers tallest player is 6-foot-4 junior Aiden Kurowski. He’s a developing player, according to Lindbeck, who is stout defensively and just needs some fine-tuning on the offensive end.

Shooting is a point of emphasis for the Rangers as they missed all 18 of their 3-pointers attempted against Goodman-Pembine in a 52-35 loss last Tuesday.

Lindbeck expects the M&O to have a competitive balance this season, even more so than in years past and sees his squad as capable as any to compete for a title.

“We’ll need to be able to shoot with confidence if we want to compete among the best teams in the conference,” Lindbeck said. “Teams like Crivitz, Coleman and Suring will be a challenge, as well as developing teams like Gillett and Lena. We just have to work to get better every day.”

Wausaukee’s next game is Tuesday in Niagara.