With three starters back from last season, the Cripple Creek-Victor boys’ basketball team is hoping to make a run at a winning record for the first time in a long time.
“Our chemistry is a lot better and we work better together and we have different elements that weren’t there last year,” said forward and team captain Toby Wuellner, one of two seniors on the team. “We have big guys, like me and Cody (Rice) that have worked together a lot underneath. Conner (Brown), Danny (Irelan) and (David) Burks have played together a lot. We have a mix of different people that have played together that work well together.”
Brown and Irelan are starters as freshmen, while Burks is in his second season starting as a junior. Rice, a junior, is also a returning starter.
“We have to work from the inside out,” Rice said. “They guys up top have to work the ball and keep it moving.”
The Pioneers opened their season on Dec. 3 with a loss at Colorado Springs School. On Dec. 6, CCV lost to Platte Canyon, 66-43.
Many of the basketball players were also on the CCV football team. The results weren’t exactly favorable for the Pioneers as they lost all seven games they played.
“I think we can get a winning record in basketball,” Wuellner said.
Brown is the point guard while Irelan is the shooting guard. CCV fans will remember Irelan’s older brother, Chris, who led the team in scoring each of the previous two seasons. Chris averaged more than 20 points per game.
“I think I’m a little bit better shooter than him, but he’s a better finisher,” Danny Irelan said of his brother.
Brown is excited about running the offense.
“It’s kind of nerve-racking,” he said. “I want to do good for the team, but I don’t want to mess everything up.”
Burks expects the Pioneers to be explosive on offense.
“I expect a lot of points from this team,” he said. “Last year we had more of a two-man game. Now we have a five-man game. And our reserves are pretty good.”
First-year coach Jordan Buss is in charge of molding his team into a winner.
“Early on we’re probably going to struggle a little bit, but hopefully we get our chemistry down,” Buss said. “I honestly think we can win our league this year.”
The Pioneers play in the four-team Class 2A/1A West Central League that includes South Park, Cotopaxi and Custer County.”
“We have to grow up pretty quick,” Buss said. “This team is ready to fire and fight hard.”
Rounding out the Pioneers’ roster is senior Robert Adams, juniors Nick Linenberger, Tyler Regester and CJ Salazar, sophomore Jake Hendrickson, and freshmen Mason Berger and Gabe Torres.