First A-E boys' team is playing well

The initial season of Adrian-Ellsworth boys’ basketball is off to a strong start.

The Dragons ended their pre-Christmas schedule with a 4-2 record, and two of the victories were impressive ones.

Overcoming a 12-point halftime deficit to defeat Red Rock Central in the third-place game of the Russell-Tyler-Ruthton game on Saturday was a confidence-builder.

A double-overtime victory over defending Section 3A champion Westbrook-Walnut Grove on Dec. 13 is a signature victory.

With 19 games remaining on the schedule, including a key game against Southwest Christian in Adrian Monday, there’s no doubt A-E still has a long road to haul.

As of right now, Dragon coach Blake Miller is pleased with the early returns.

“I’m very happy we are at 4-2 right now,” he said.

“We’ve played six games and most of them were very close. Our only losses came against a good Luverne team and a very good Mountain Lake team.”

All things considered, I believe the 4-2 Dragons have accomplished quite a bit.

For a group of players that have never played together, A-E has overcome the odds to produce success on the court.

That fact isn’t lost on coach Miller, who didn’t know what the groundbreaking season would bring to the Dragons back in November.

“Whenever two schools come together for the first time to field a basketball team, there are going to be some challenges,” he admitted.

“The biggest thing is getting the kids to play together and trust each other. I think the kids are still learning how to play together, and the coaching staff is still learning how to put all of the pieces together. That’s a part of the process, but I think everyone is handling this new situation very well.”

To be honest, I don’t believe Miller is too concerned with what A-E’s record will be when the season is complete.

He is looking at the big picture, which includes building a quality basketball program both communities involved can be proud of.

“Our focus is getting the kids to believe in Dragon basketball and getting everyone involved to buy into it,” Miller stated.

“We are one team now, and I think the kids are buying into that. That’s important because these guys can be looked at like they are trailblazers. How they handle this first season is important. We have a lot of little kids coming to our games, and we want our guys to handle themselves and play well together on the court. That will set a positive tone for the kids we will have in the future.”

Based on the way things have transpired through six games, I have to believe A-E basketball has a very bright future.

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