When a program has won 22 or more games for five straight seasons like the Iowa Mennonite School boys basketball team has, terms like “rebuilding” don’t get tossed around very often.
Dwight Gingerich wasn’t necessarily facing a full rebuilding process this season but the longtime Iowa Mennonite School coach did have some question marks.
Mainly in the backcourt, where IMS graduated all three starting guards, including its top two scorers from last year’s squad that finished 22-3.
Just three weeks into the season, it appears Gingerich has found answers to those questions.
Despite breaking in three new starters, IMS is ranked fifth in Class 1A and will enter the holiday break 5-0.
IMS has won its five games by an average of better than 17 points per game and has played just one game closer than 10 points.
“We have battled injuries some, and so it’s been an adventure different nights out but I like the growth of the team,” Gingerich said. “I feel like it’s a work in progress but I like how it feels.”
Iowa Mennonite School has three first-time starters in senior Zach Hill, junior Kirby Shetler and sophomore Eli Gingerich.
All three have settled into their roles and have been instrumental in Iowa Mennonite School’s strong start.
Hill is one of three IMS players averaging double figures in scoring at 11.2 points per game.
Gingerich leads IMS with 5.2 assists per game, while Shetler has committed just five turnovers in five games.
“I think this group of guys are finding their roles and becoming confident with each other,” Gingerich said. “We lost three senior guards that played really key roles and getting those new guys into those new roles has taken a little time but its working out.”
The two returning starters for last year’s team, seniors Dallas Nye and Reggie Hostetler, have carried much of the weight early as the young guards developed.
Nye and Hostetler are the top two scorers and rebounders for IMS
Nye leads the team with 16.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, while Hostetler is second on the team with 14.6 points and 5.4 rebounds.
The 6-foot-2 Nye also averages better than four assists and two blocks per game.
“They are our leaders and they have been in the lineup for a couple of years,” Gingerich said. “You kind of look for those guys to be your assistant coaches in a way and they’ve done a great job with their leadership so far.”
FAST STARTERS: IMS isn’t the only area team off to an impressive start. A year after notching 14 wins, Highland is off to a 5-1 start and has won four straight since a 56-33 loss to IMS.
Seniors Chris Ford and Josh Brase have paced the Huskies during their strong start.
Ford is averaging 16.3 points, while the 6-foot-2 Brase is averaging 19 points in three games of action.
* FREE BASKETBALL: Regina needed a little extra time to enter the holiday break 5-0.
Actually, the Regals needed a lot more time — 12 extra minutes to be exact — as they downed Monticello 67-66 in a three-overtime thriller Tuesday.
The win was Regina’s third game decided by eight points or fewer.
* PERFORMANCES OF THE WEEK: Regina junior Drew Cook had 25 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and three blocks in a 67-66 triple-overtime win over Monticello.
West High senior Wyatt Lohaus posted 14 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in a 70-40 road win over Cedar Falls.
West Liberty’s Carl Guardado had 27 points in the Comets’ 70-57 win over Columbus Junction.