Boys' basketball preview: North Platte Bulldogs

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - The North Platte boys' basketball team played a scrimmage against Gothenburg Monday to prepare for their season. Bulldog Matt Kaminski saw encouraging things out of his team against the Swedes.

Bulldog senior Steven Garcia handles the ball during an intra-squad scrimmage prior to the season (Credit: Patrick Johnstone/KNOP-TV)

"They did a lot of really good things, but playing so early, there's going to be a lot of sloppy play here and there. But, we played a ton of guys, got a chance to see 14 kids get significant playing time, a lot of guys that I think need opportunities and things will fall into place. I was really encouraged by a lot of things I saw in the scrimmage," Kaminski said.

The Bulldogs will be in Class A for the 2019-20 season, but will play a majority of their games against Class B opponents. The Bulldogs have switched between Classes A and B a few times over the past few seasons, and the Bulldogs are hoping that experience can help them succeed this year.

"I feel like we're a little more prepared just because of last couple years," senior guard Steven Garcia said.

Garcia is one of five seniors on the team, and Kaminski is confident in the group of seniors he has, and believes they will be strong leaders.

"Your season really depends a lot about quality character and leadership of those veterans, and those guys have been around. We play with a lot of intensity, and they've set the tone for, I think, what could be a really competitive year for us," Kaminski said.

Another senior on the team is guard Derrek Ramos. On the expectations coming into the year, Ramos said, "to grow closer as a group and to just have a good season, and a winning season this year."

Kaminski and his players believe there is one word that can accurately describe this team: scrappy.

"We know we're a scrappy team, so we're just going to fall into that, and try to improve a lot over the season," Garcia said.

"This is a group that really focuses on themselves and the attitude has been great. This group communicates a lot, and I think a lot of people will describe us as a scrappy group, and I see that it's a good thing," Kaminski said.

Kaminski hopes to have ten players who can get into games this season, and figuring out how to work lineups with that much depth will help early in the season.

"Kind of figuring out that puzzle and those pieces that fit is going to be key for us, and we're going to have a lot of questions answered this weekend with three varsity games," Kaminski said.

The Bulldogs open their season Thursday, Dec. 5, in the Western Conference Tournament hosted by Scottsbluff. They will have three games over the weekend, and start by playing Mitchell on Thursday.