Pleasant Ridge boys’ basketball head coach Pat Battle said the 2018-19 season for the Rams was filled with a lot of growth for the young team.
Pleasant Ridge wrapped up their season on Feb. 26 with a 51-31 loss at Nemaha Central in the 3A sub-state quarterfinals. The young team finished with a 9-12 record.
The Rams opened the season against Maur Hill in a loss before splitting the other four games prior to the winter break with wins over Atchison County and Horton and losses to Valley Falls and Oskaloosa.
They would fall to McLouth in the first game back before winning seven of their next nine. But the Rams would fall in their remaining five games, including the sub-state loss to end the year. Battle said the wins against Oskaloosa and Valley Falls Feb. 5 and Feb. 8 were the best wins the Rams had this year.
Despite the struggles, Battle said he was proud of how the team competed all year.
“I am proud of how well we competed from the first game to the last,” Battle said. “I have no regrets about this season. There is nothing that I would change regarding how we as a staff taught, coached and managed our team. We are only looking forward.”
Battle said his favorite memory of the season actually came off of the court.
“(It) was probably when we hosted our bus drivers for brunch at our annual community service project,” Battle said. “It is great to see our players mentor our middle school athletes and serve our district’s bus drivers.”
The Rams had a unique situation this season with their seniors. Pleasant Ridge had two seniors this year, Jamar Reed and Trevor Lawson, and both were new to the school.
“I thought that both players did a really good job in adapting to the culture of our program,” Battle said. “They both contributed significantly and we will miss their leadership.”
Battle said the team does not pick an MVP in their postseason awards, but he did mention Reed was voted to second team all-Northeast Kansas League and Connor Gibson was an honorable mention. He also said all the underclassmen improved during the season.
Looking ahead, Battle said the team will return eight letterwinners and four starters from this year’s team. The team will still be young, but Battle said the future will be bright.
“We return eight lettermen,” Battle said. “So we have acquired a lot of experience. At the same time, we will be young still next year. The key will be how we attack the offseason from playing to skill development to weight training. I think the future for our program is bright moving forward.”