Returning players led by Michael Kelly and Leonardo Banuelos

By Kelly Kirkpatrick

Staff writer

As any high school coach can attest, making up for the loss of graduating seniors is almost always a top priority when preparing for a new season.

That fact is certainly not lost on South Park Burros boys’ head basketball coach Bill Wishowski.

Wishowski will have to replace the production of five graduating seniors from last year’s team, which finished the season with an overall record of 11-7 and a conference record of 4-4.

Those five seniors, led by T.J. Peter who averaged 14.6 points per game, combined for 22 points and 10 rebounds per contest during the 2018-2019 campaign. The departure of those players will likely cause some degree of concern for Wishowski, as the team’s average scoring output last season was about 46 points per contest.

But fortunately for Wishowski and the Burros, the cupboard is not bare in terms of returning talent.

Michael Kelley, a senior, made a considerable impact last season with eight points and eight rebounds per game. At 6-2, Kelley not only provides senior leadership, but also provides much-needed size to the roster.

Leonardo Banuelos, a 5-11 junior, will also be asked to carry a large portion of the team’s production after averaging five points, four rebounds and two steals per contest during his sophomore season.

Juniors Elias Esparza and Hector Almeida averaged five and six rebounds respectively last season, and those numbers, as well as their combined offensive production, will need to be a point of emphasis for the Burros in 2020.

Overall, the Burros return 10 players from last year’s roster. Last season, the Burros finished fourth in conference behind Sanford, Del Norte and Sargent.

The season begins for the Burros Dec. 5 at home against Denver Academy. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m.

That contest will be followed by a meeting with Buena Vista Dec. 12, North Park Dec. 14 and Platte Canyon Dec. 19. Of those first four games, all are at home with the exception of North Park.

The Burros would benefit greatly from a fast start like they had last season, as they rolled off six consecutive wins before finally dropping their seventh game against Gilpin County.

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