Pratt basketball coach expects competitive season with four returning seniors at the helm
Despite returning four starters, Pratt boy’s basketball coach Chris Battin knows as well as anyone how competitive the Central Kansas League is every season.
“If you don’t show up ready to play, you get run out of the gym,” the Greenbacks' sixth-year coach said of the 10-team conference, one of Kansas’ finest, in a preseason interview with the Pratt Tribune minutes before the team’s first official preseason workout Monday afternoon.
“Every year Hesston is the cream of the crop in our league, and has been for the last few years,” said Battin. “Hesston won the 3A state championship last year, and Hillsboro won the 2A title. It’s an elite league, top to bottom, and if we have an off night we’re in trouble.”
Other league members are Halstead, Haven, Hoisington, Larned, Lyons, Nickerson and Smoky Valley.
Last season, the Greenbacks lost to McPherson in a sub-state opening round game and finished 7-13 overall.
With seven returning seniors, including starters Peyton Koehler, Matt Shanline, Karter Hoeme and Aiden Crow, the Greenbacks look to have enough firepower to compete against Hesston and the other elite teams in the Central Kansas League.
Koehler and Hoene are 6-foot-4, and Younie 6-3. All three can score in the paint or shoot it from the outside.
Other Greenbacks to watch are seniors Grant Younie, Dru Lunsford and Dyllan Lunsford, and junior J’air Johnson.
“We can play big and pound the ball inside, or we can spread it out,” Battin said of team’s offensive approach in 2021-22. “We will push the ball in transition and defensively, we plan to pressure man-to-man and use some different presses and zones to make teams feel uncomfortable. We have the potential to be very, very good.”
Pratt opens Dec. 3 at home against Larned. Hesston comes to town Feb. 1.
2021-22 Pratt Boys Basketball Schedule
Dec. 3 – Larned, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 6 – at Hutchinson Trinity, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 7 – Chaparral, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 11 – at Cheney Tournament, TBA
Dec. 14 – at Russell, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 17 – Nickerson, TBA
Jan. 4 – Hayes, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 7 – Haven, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 11 – Lyons, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 14 – at Larned, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 17 – at Hoisington Tournament, TBA
Feb. 1 – Hesston, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 4 – at Hillsboro, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 8 – at Halstead, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 11 – Hoisington, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 15 – Haven, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 18 – at Nickerson, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 22 – Smoky Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 2 – Sub-State, TBA
Mar. 5 – Sub-State, TBA
Mar. 11-13, State, TBA
Note: Home games at Pratt High School Gym are listed in boldface.