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Leadership, young talent to drive Montague’s boys basketball team in 2021-22

Wildcats look to be one of the title contenders in the league.

Media day photos by Cody Ottinger and Kara Raeth | CatchMark

Montague 2021-22 boys basketball team attended the VanDyk Mortgage West Michigan Conference media day on Wednesday, Nov. 24, at the Viking Athletic Center (VAC) in Whitehall.

Here is a season preview for the Wildcats, who are favorited as one of the league’s top teams. Check out the photo gallery above, too.

COACH: Dave Osborne (15th season).

LAST YEAR’S RECORDS: 11-6 overall (9-4 West Michigan Conference, 3rd place).

RETURNING STARTERS: Tugg Nichols (Senior, Guard, 5-8); Tate Stine (Senior, Guard, 6-0); Colton Blankstrom (Senior, Forward, 6-0); Isaiah Atchison (Sophomore, Center, 6-7).

Note: Tate Stine missed the 2020-21 season with a knee injury.

KEY RETURNEES: Braedan Johnston (Junior, Forward, 6-4); Owen Raeth (Sophomore, Guard, 5-6); Conner Raeth (Senior, Guard, 5-8); Christian Bihler (Senior, Center, 6-3).

NEW PROSPECTS: Owen Petersen (Junior, Guard, 6-0); Paul Olson (Sophomore, Guard/Forward, 6-2); Rodney Brassfield (Junior, Center, 6-2); Carri Williams (Junior, Guard, 6-0).

STRENGTHS: The Wildcats will utilize the culmination of veteran leadership and the spark of youthful talent to overcome obstacles. Per Osborne, high character and hard-work ethics will power the squad through the highs and lows of the season. Seniors Tate Stine, Tugg Nichols and Colton Blankstrom are expected to be the offensive leaders for Montague this year.

WEAKNESSES: After losing two starters from last season, Montague will need its young talent to step up and fill those shoes to round out the roster.

SEASON OUTLOOK: Similar to years past, the Wildcats hope to compete for a league title. The chemistry among the senior Wildcats and some of the developing players will be essential in defeating some of the more competitive teams in the conference.

Montague’s success will depend on the ability to mesh their assets and develop throughout the season. If successful execution follows, they have a good shot at a WMC championship as well as a postseason tournament run.

“We are hopeful that our youth will develop throughout the season and have us peaking come tournament time,” Osborne said. “We believe the conference will be very balanced this year and anyone could beat each other on any given night. There are no nights off in the WMC.”

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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