By Becky Berreth
“They ain’t ready,” said Kale Landguth, St. Thomas More High School student team coach. “We are more athletic and more disciplined. We have a pretty good squad this year. We’ve been preparing for this our whole high school career. We are ready.”
“We are a well-oiled machine,” responded Dan Duffy, first year coach for the Men in Black. “We’ve got some priests that they should be worried about.”
On January 29, the priests of the diocese will take on a team of St. Thomas More High School students in the 7th Annual Men in Black basketball game. The evening begins with a dinner at 5 p.m. followed by the St. Elizabeth Seton students vs. staff, St. Thomas More Middle School students vs. staff, and the Men in Black game tipping off at 7 p.m. The event is co-sponsored by the Rapid City Catholic School System and the Vocations Office as a way for the people of the diocese to meet some of the priests and seminarians in a fun and entertaining environment.
The students anticipate using their size to their advantage. “We’ve got a big man coming in — new recruit, Christian “Larry” Simunek. He’s 6 feet 5 inches, finishes around the rim, and he’s a rebounding machine,” explained Landguth.
According to Coach Duffy, the size of the student team is one thing they are preparing for. “We are going to plug the middle and put our bigger guys up against theirs,” he explained.
The Men in Black are also counting on their experience to help win the game. “Old age and wisdom will always hold out over youth. I’m confident that our wisdom and experience will be enough to counter act the youth and athleticism of the students,” said Duffy.
When asked how they are going to overcome the fourth quarter energy drain, Duffy expressed confidence in his team. “We are prepared for that. I can’t disclose anything, but we will have a comfortable enough lead that we should be able to hold them off.”
The Men in Black team has been known to run trick plays. To prepare, student team assistant coach Joe Poeppel is watching film to prepare for anything the Men in Black might bring to the game. “Our defense is good enough to hold up against any trick plays they might have,” he said.
Coach Landguth said his team is also preparing for Father Adam Hofer, a youngster out of Blessed Sacrament Parish, in Rapid City.
“Father Hofer is a great player. We’re looking at changing up our defensive strategy for him. We’ve got a couple guys coming from the football team that I think can handle him. We may have to play a little zone defense, but I think we can take him down.”
“He’ll see that as a challenge and run right through them,” countered Duffy. “He’s very competitive.”
“We will come prepared,” said Duffy.
“To lose,” added Landguth.
The game will be broadcast live on Real Presence Radio, 89.9 FM, beginning at 6:45 p.m. and streamed live on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RealPresenceRadio/