Senior Ethan Walcheski is the lone starter returning to the Royalton boys basketball team as the Royals enter their first year in the Central Minnesota Conference.

Alongside the Royals are the Holdingford Huskers, CMC veterans, who also return a single starter, senior Jake Ethen, from a tough season in 2018-19.

Royalton also has juniors Brady Brezinka and Tristan Pekula back, both made significant contributions as sophomores.

“We are inexperienced at the varsity level,” said Royals head coach Randy Thielges. “Scoring leaders could be any of several players on any given night. Team goals include being stingier on defense and being great team players.”

Thielges said the Royals will have good shooting and some size inside, but need to be stingier on defense.

For the Huskers, a number of players come back with experience, including seniors Blake Niemeyer, Aaron Welle, Christian Willougby, Brendon Yamry and junior Braden Bomgaars.

“This is a very unselfish group. Anyone could lead us in scoring on a given night,” said Huskers head coach Ron Makela. “They understand how to work together and set their teammates up for scoring opportunities.”

Royalton opens the season with a road game against former conference foe, Browerville-Eagle Valley, Tuesday.

Holdingford opens its season with a home game against Upsala at 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7.

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