The Papillion-La Vista High School varsity basketball team is rolling into the 2017-18 season after qualifying for the state championship for the first time since 2013 last year. After dropping the championship to Norfolk, the Monarchs lost two outstanding players in Ayo Akinwole and Edward Chang. But fourth year head coach Dan Moore, who holds a 61-19 record in his three years with the Monarchs, says he isn’t worried as that’s just what happens.
“That’s the reality of high school basketball,” Moore said. “You have the players you have. Last year was great, and we’ll take our guys and compete [this year].”
Despite all-state players Akinwole and Chang departing, they aren’t losing all their talent: there are four players that will return to the Papio squad this year. Two of these players are starters, and all four of them appeared in the 2017 State Championship game. This is an experienced team says Coach Moore.
“We have one starter back [in Peyton Priest], Caleb Feekin was our sixth man that played starter minutes, and Jon Carter and Hayden Bahl also played last year,” Moore said.
This Papilllion La-Vista squad may have lost two of the best players they’ve seen in years, but they’re not looking to take any significant steps back this year. One thing having this much success creates is sparked interest in the program among the community. Papio is no different according to Moore.
“We have a very solid program,” Moore said. “Our school and community is very supportive.”
Papillion-La Vista will open their season on Saturday, November 25, 2017 at 4 p.m. at Gretna in the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame Jamboree.