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  • Robert Lathers

Portland Raider Boys Basketball 2019-2020 Season Preview

New season, new coach and eight returning seniors highlight opening night tomorrow for the Portland Raider Boys Basketball team when they visit Lansing Christian. The Raiders won three of their last four games last year, before finishing with a 7-14 record, before losing in the District Finals to Ionia 53-40. This year, with Jason Goerge coming in from Fowler as the new Raider coach, expectations are cautiously higher.

Goerge replaces long-time Raider Coach, Dave Pettit, who retired after last season. Pettit had been head coach of the Raiders for ten years. Goerge has thirteen years of coaching experience, all at Fowler. For the past four years he has been their head boys’ basketball coach compiling a 57-32 (64%) record. His Fowler team three years ago lost in the Quarterfinals to eventual State Champion, Southfield Christian. The next year Fowler got off to a 13-0 start and were ranked #1 in Class D for the first half of the season before finishing 16-6.

The Raiders this year are led by 6’5 Senior Aryan Virk. Virk is one of the team captains and according to Goerge, “Aryan sees the whole floor and has a great sense of the game. He has the potential to take games over. He is capable of playing any position on the team, including low post. I am expecting great things out of him this year.”

Owen Russell is a three-year returning starter. “He has a smooth release jump shot,” Goerge says, “he has size and is able to step up on defense as well”. Russell has been the Raiders starting quarterback in football for the past two years and is capable of playing under pressure.

Gavin McGregor, another returning senior, is “a lock down defender” according to Goerge. “He’s not afraid of anything and has great court awareness”.

Senior Jordan Petersen, another team captain, is the starting point guard for the Raiders. “He pushes the ball well and will get assists. His defense is also picking up”, Goerge said. “He is definitely one of the team leaders”.

Senior David Svanda, who went down with a knee injury last year, is the third team captain. Unfortunately, Svanda who is 6’5 may see limited playing time due to a football injury, but he will definitely contribute with any playing time his able to handle. Senior Cade Simon is on the roster but is also recovering from an injury and is not expected to see much, if any, playing time this year.

Blake Myers, another senior, is “one of hardest working kids on the team”, Goerge reported. “He runs the court well, is a great defender and is capable of scoring six to eight points a game just from pure hustle”.

Zach Pier, who is also the Portland Raider’s star golfer, “has a nice shot and a great attitude” Goerge said. Pier is also a returning senior.

Brady Smith, one of Portland’s top football players, did not play basketball last year. He is a senior this year and “is one of our top players”, Goerge declared. “He is very coachable, works hard, and plays good defense”.

The final senior is Ty Snitgen. “He works hard and is a decent defender” Goerge said.

Junior Grant Ruddy, who played on the varsity last year, may be the “most improved player on the team” observes Goerge after studying game film from last year. “His shooting, ball handling and defense have all improved”.

Trent Myers, one of two sophomores on the team, is expected to see lots of playing time. “He is the best all-around point guard on the team” Goerge said, “and he is only going to get better and stronger”.

Other players on the Raider basketball team this year are Juniors Luke Nobis and Kurt Kaczon and Sophomore Haden Getchell. They will all be “developing and improving their skills in order to help form the core of next year’s team. Although their playing time may be more limited this year, their skills, work ethic, and value to this team are not,” Goerge reflected.

Goerge summarized this year’s team by saying, “These kids like each other and get along very well. They want each other to succeed and they hate to lose. We are going to play hard, especially on defense. If we can get off to a good start and their confidence builds it could be a good year.

Goerge’s assistant coaches this year are Doug Fox and Jamison Goerge. They also contributed to this pre-season preview. In looking ahead to the CAAC White Conference opponents the coaching staff concurred that Lansing Catholic and Ionia will be favored to win the league. Eaton Rapids will compete for the title as well, with four returning starters. Lansing Sexton has a new coach, Dale Beard, who has a rich basketball background. Charlotte will come to every game ready to play. “Our goal”, said Goerge, “is to compete in every game and put ourselves in a position to win it”.

The Raiders first home game will be on Friday, December 20th when they host Lansing Sexton at 7:30 PM. Following tomorrow’s game at Lansing Christian at 7:00, the Raiders will travel Friday, December 13th to Ionia for a 7:30 PM tip-off.

Portland Boys Basketball Schedule for 2019-2020

Date Time Location Opponent 12/10/2019 7:00 PM A Lansing Christian 12/13/2019 7:30 PM A Ionia 12/20/2019 6:00 PM H Lansing Sexton 1/7/2020 7:00 PM H St Johns 1/10/2020 7:30 PM A Lansing Catholic 1/14/2020 7:00 PM A Haslett 1/17/2020 6:00 PM H Eaton Rapids 1/21/2020 7:00 PM A Olivet 1/24/2020 7:30 PM A Charlotte 1/28/2020 7:00 PM A Lake Odessa Lakewood 1/31/2020 6:00 PM H Ionia 2/3/2020 7:00 PM H Saranac 2/7/2020 7:30 PM A Lansing Sexton 2/10/2020 7:00 PM H Hastings 2/11/2020 7:00 PM H Fowler 2/14/2020 6:00 PM H Lansing Catholic 2/21/2020 7:30 PM A Eaton Rapids 2/28/2020 6:00 PM H Charlotte 3/2/2020 7:00 PM A Laingsburg 3/5/2020 7:00 PM A Mason

Varsity Roster 2019-2020

Simon, Cade Senior 6'3"

Snitgen, Ty Senior 5'8"

Meyers, Trent Sophomore 5'10"

Pier, Zachary Senior 5'7"

Getchell, Haden Sophomore 6'1"

Kraczon, Kurt Junior 6'0"

Russell, Owen Senior 6'3"

Smith, Broderick Senior 5'11"

Meyers, Blake Senior 5'6"

Nobis, Luke Junior 5'8"

Svanda, David Senior 6'5"

McGregor, Gavin Senior 5'10"

Ruddy, Grant Junior 6'3"

Petersen, Jordan Senior 5'8"

Virk, Aryan Senior 6'5"

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