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Boys Basketball: ACGC expects to be improved

Though the Falcons return one starter, they have skilled players coming up to the varsity

Braeden Pickle (1).JPG
Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City's Braedan Pickle fires a long-distance shot during a non-conference game against Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart on Jan. 7, 2020 from ACGC High School in Grove City. Pickle must be replaced by the Falcons this year after earning all-conference honors. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

GROVE CITY — It was an uncharacteristically tough season victory-wise for the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City boys basketball team last winter.

The Falcons went 3-14 overall, including 3-11 in the Central Minnesota Conference.

The feeling among head coach Terry Miller and his staff is that 2020-21 is going to be better.

“We look to be an improved team from a season ago,” Miller said. “Depth and experience will be concerns, but our core appears to be solid and we just need a couple kids to step up and contribute in their role.”

Miller is in his 30th season as a coach, including 21 at ACGC. He has a 353-368 career record and an experienced staff that includes Dave Zaeske, John Cunningham, Alex Hendriicks, Samantha Cunningham and Dyle Hoercher.

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While only one starter is back, there is some talent.

Gone are Braeden Pickle, Logan Hoekstra, Levi Lilleberg, Brock Hedtke and A.J. Slinden. Pickle was an All-Central Minnesota Conference selection.

The lone returning starter is Bock Denton, a 6-foot-2 senior guard.

“Brock is a good shooter who will spread the floor with his playmaking ability,” Miller said.

Players to watch include Alex Kokenge and Thor Goerish.

Kokenge is a 6-3 senior wing.

“Alex Kokenge is a strong, physical kid who can play both inside and outside,” Miller said. “He was also our leading 3-point shooter from last season.”

Goerish is a 6-2 junior wing.

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“Thor Goerish is a player who has put in a tremendous amount of time into basketball and it shows,” Miller said. “Thor is a very good shooter (who) has the ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim.”

The Falcons hope that trio will help ACGC deal with the rigors of the Central Minnesota Conference, which was won last year by Eden Valley-Watkins. Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Kimball and Paynesville also had excellent years and are expected to be strong again.

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