The Ashby boys basketball team took a big step forward last winter under longtime head coach John Holsten’s first season at the helm of the Arrows.

Ashby went 7-18 in 2017-18 but jumped all the way to a 16-8 record a year later. Now the Arrows have the task of trying to replace some key pieces if they want to continue climbing the Little Eight Conference and Section 6A ladders.

“We expect to have a team that will compete hard on every possession,” Holsten said. “We have a good overall work ethic to go along with good team chemistry.”

The Arrows did not lose a lot of seniors from last season, but the ones they did were big contributors. Scott Johnson left as Ashby’s all-time leading scorer in boys or girls basketball. Dakota Ecker ran the show as point guard a year ago, and Christian Norby was another vital piece to more than doubling the team’s win total.

Their losses mean the Arrows have holes in their lineup for guys to step into. Noah Johnson, Jaden Norby and Hunter Norby are returning starters, and Ashton Ecker, a junior guard, is another returning letter winner. Johnson is the lone senior on this team, and he will share captain duties with Jaden Norby.

Juniors Bobby Anderson, Derrek Bartz and Miles Hoff and sophomores Jacob Cook, Torin Olson and Carter Spangler are some of the kids who have opportunities to step into bigger roles.

Holsten said that decision-making, shot selection and post defense are areas the Arrows need to focus on improving as the season goes on. He sees Parkers Prairie, Brandon-Evansville, Battle Lake and Hillcrest Lutheran as some of the top teams in the LEC.

West Central Area and Hancock join B-E and Parkers Prairie as some top teams in the South subsection of 6A. Holsten said defending Class A state champion Henning, along with Park Christian and Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal, should be good teams on the North side of the section field.

2019-20 ASHBY BOYS BASKETBALL

SENIOR - Noah Johnson; JUNIORS - Derrek Bartz, Jake Rein, Ashton Ecker, Bobby Anderson, Jaden Norby, Miles Hoff; SOPHOMORES - Hunter Norby, Torin Olson, Jacob Cook, Carter Spangler, Matson Hoff, Sam Heeter, Evan Paulson, Carson Spangler

COACHES - Head coach - John Holsten; Assistant coaches - Jeremy Quernemoen, Richard Cordes, Kip Nelson

ASHBY BOYS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE

Dec. 3 vs. WCA, 7:15 p.m.

Dec. 5 at Hillcrest Lutheran, 7:15 p.m.

Dec. 10 at Underwood, 7:15 p.m.

Dec. 12 vs. Rothsay, 7:15 p.m.

Dec. 17 at Pelican Rapids, 7:15 p.m.

Dec. 19 vs. Swanville, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 27 at Perham Tournament, 12:30 p.m.

Jan. 2 at Battle Lake, 7:15 p.m.

Jan. 6 at Rothsay, 7:15 p.m.

Jan. 9 vs. Bertha-Hewitt, 7:15 p.m.

Jan. 10 at Brandon-Evansville, 7:15 p.m.

Jan. 14 at Parkers Prairie, 7:15 p.m.

Jan. 17 at Henning, 7:15 p.m.

Jan. 21 at Hancock, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 24 vs. Underwood, 7:15 p.m.

Jan. 28 at New York Mills, 7:15 p.m.

Jan. 31 vs. Hillcrest Lutheran, 7:15 p.m.

Feb. 3 at Frazee, 7:15 p.m.

Feb. 6 vs. Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, 7:15 p.m.

Feb. 7 vs. Battle Lake, 7:15 p.m.

Feb. 11 vs. Brandon-Evansville, 7:15 p.m.

Feb. 14 vs. Parkers Prairie, 7:15 p.m.

Feb. 18 at Ortonville, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 20 vs. Verndale, 7:15 p.m.

Feb. 24 at Park Christian, 7:15 p.m.

Feb. 27 vs. Wheaton, 7:15 p.m.