Helias boys basketball will open their season tonight, Nov. 18, at the Rackers Fieldhouse at 6 p.m., with a jamboree featuring Fatima and Blair Oaks. Returning starting point guard Landon Harrison, now a Junior, averaged 15.5 points per game as a sophomore. Helias’s first regular season game is Friday, December 2, 2016 at James Rackers Fieldhouse against St. Dominic.
“We are looking forward to kicking off the season versus St. Dominic at home,” said Harrison. “Guys have been practicing hard every day to get ready for the season. The first game is always important. Everybody is anxious to get out there and get going. St. Dominic will be a big test for us to see if we can play with toughness to get the win. Guys are still learning right now, but once the chemistry gets better, we are going to be good. There is no doubt. We are looking forward to the first game and hopefully we can make a good showing for our fans and get the win to start the season off.”
This year’s team will look much different from last year’s squad. Helias lost seven seniors from the 2016 Final Four team.
“We know that we lost 7 seniors last year,” said Harrison. “We lost lots of guys that brought many different things on and off the court each and every day. With that being said, we realize that we have to have guys that are going to step in and show leadership from the beginning. This might require some players to get out of their comfort zone. I think that we have a strong core of 3-4 guys coming back that are going to step up and the younger guys can learn from that. I think I have a big role as the point guard not only to lead day in and day out but to push others on the court to be the best they can be, also so they can step up in big game situations. That’s really when the game can get really fun.”
Helias will play cross-town rival Jefferson City on January 17, 2017. Helias is 10-3 against the Jays since 2006. Helias will take on its familiar foe of recent years, Rolla, just four days before on January 13, 2017, at Rolla.
“The game I’m looking forward to the most is probably Rolla,” said senior guard Drew Boessen. “We go there this year and that place is always crazy. Everything echoes in there and they always have a ton of people there. After losing to them the past few years and beating them in districts last year, we need to prove that that wasn’t a one-time thing. We’ll for sure need all of the Rowdies down there for that game. Should be a lot of fun.”
Other than the games, Boessen is looking forward to more achievements.
“My favorite basketball memory so far would have to be our trip to the Final 4,” said Boessen. “Most high school players, in any sport, don’t get to say they’ve been to and played in a final four game. Everything didn’t hit me until we were warming up in Mizzou Arena for our semifinal game and it was just kind of eye opening and how special all of this was. It was an amazing experience and we’re doing all we can to get back there and put a banner on the wall this time.”
The Crusaders will have 10 regular season home games, plus it is just a short trip to Southern Boone County on February 14 if they make it to the Final Four. Rackers Rowdies shirts are going to be for sale soon with the student section themes on the back.