The Colton Vikings’ boys basketball team has a hole to fill after graduating point guard Jerod Jones.

“Replacing him will be a challenge,” Coach Brandon Kishpaugh said.

Luckily for Kishpaugh, he’s got a solid lineup of returners, including four seniors who Kishpaugh has coached since he took over as head coach four years ago. Dane Norton, Kevin Flores, Drexler Hall and Rhedyn Stanczyk all return to the court this year.

“They all work extremely hard,” Kishpaugh said, adding that it’s been fun to see them grow with the basketball program over the last four years. “Drexler took a lot of lumps the first couple years,” Kishapaugh said. “[Hall and Flores] will probably be the leaders on the court … Rhedyn Stanczyk will be a major factor on defense, pressuring the ball.”

The team’s goal this year is to continue climbing up the league rankings. Last season they finished fifth. This season Kishpaugh is shooting for fourth or higher, a realistic goal in a tough league.

Along with the four pack of seniors, Kishpaugh has several other players he’s expecting big things from.

“There are about seven guys I’m expecting a lot out of,” he said. “They played significant minutes last year.”

Particularly, junior Harper James should help bridge the gap between the seniors and the sophomores, offering leadership

“He’s a gym rat,” Kishpaugh said. “He’s grown several inches in the last year and a half or so.”

The Vikings have a lot of opportunity to test themselves early on. Kishpaugh is especially looking forward to playing Estacada and going to the Amity Tournment.

“Estacada will be a good test for us early,” he said. “[And Amity] will be good measuring stick at the end of preseason to see how we’re doing.”

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