Mora Boys Basketball Head Coach Curt Grachek shares about the ongoing 2021 season:
How is the makeup of the varsity team different from last year?: We graduated two of the main components of our Section Finalist team in Cole Steffen and Lucas Athey. Junior Garret Honstrom has joined the four returning senior starters, Andrew Rasmusson, Ben Wright, Jeff Lilienthal and Caleb Anderson. We are different from last year. We are stronger and more confident across the entire team. They have put in the time in the off-season and in the weight room to make that happen.
What are the team’s goals and priorities for the season?: “Unfinished Business” is what sets our goals for this season. Having the opportunity to play in a Section final game with the winner going on to play in the State Tournament taken away was crushing. Being closed down because of the COVID pandemic felt worse than losing your game to end the season. We want to be the toughest game that our opponent has on their schedule.
What pandemic-related changes are most challenging and how are the athletes adapting to those changes?: Most people would think that having to wear a face mask while playing basketball would be the biggest challenge. This team is so coachable and focused that at the beginning of our season we talked about the face mask. We told them that the teams that ignore that they have a face mask on; that they don’t make it an issue of playing, then that team will be focused on basketball not face masks. I think we have shown that the face mask is not an issue for us.
The biggest challenge is the lack of fans. With the COVID restrictions, only two family members per player are allowed. The indoor limit is 150 and most of the gyms we are in don’t have the space for that many. I believe we can have only 124 or so in our gym. The non-conference teams we play from the Great River don’t allow any visiting fans. We would be drawing large crowds to our games because of the very entertaining style of basketball we play.
What do you hope these young athletes will take away from their sports experence this season?: I think they will have a great feeling of camaraderie and a sense that they belong to a basketball family. They will be proud of what they accomplish and they will realize that they did the work and they got the rewards.
What is the best way for fans to support the team this year?: We are making sure every game is live streamed. For home games we will be on the ‘Mora Activities YouTube’ page. For away games, Coach Balmer keeps the ‘Mora Mustang Boy’s Basketball’ Facebook page posted with the away links.