Marion coach looks forward to 1st year with boys' team
Donald Raymer is taking on even more than before in his year as Marion High School principal.
Raymer is the new coach for Marion boys basketball, and he is eager to hit the brunt of the season.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “It’ll be a great challenge. Not only to take over a new program and new players and athletes, but also try to get through this pandemic.”
With four seniors and one junior out of 13 players on the team, counteracting the team’s lack of experience will be key, Raymer said.
“We’re still inexperienced,” he said “We’re young but our goal is to compete now and try to win now. We want to build for the future, but it’s also what’s in front of us today. That’s how we’ll approach it, is one day at a time.”
One struggle with having a limited number of players is being able to field varsity and JV teams.
Athletes only are allowed to play six quarters between in any day of varsity and JV competition, so a player can only play two quarters of a varsity game if they play four quarters of that day’s JV game.
“You have to be thinking ahead,” Raymer said. “You also have to understand that a freshman or sophomore needs game time and playing experience, and that’s where they develop a lot.”
One side effect of having limited players is that they quickly gain experience, whether in practice or games.
Raymer is confident his team will have more than enough conditioning. His bigger focus is making sure his athletes compete as a cohesive unit.
“My ultimate goal is that we do things the right way, whether that’s on-court or off,” he said. “I hope I can teach them to be respectful, professional, handle their business in a proper way and have fun doing it.”
Raymer sees the team as a teaching opportunity and a way to build relationships with his students. By fostering those interactions he hopes to reach a point where his athletes can broaden their comfort zones.
One of his goals is that eventually they will grow to the point of helping teach their peers.
“I hope that’s where it leads to,” he said. “You can understand something but if you can teach somebody then you can demonstrate you have a true, deep understanding and knowledge of it.”
Despite being in his first season, Raymer doesn’t shy away from discussing the impact school rivalries can have.
“I think rivalries have a good place in the game,” he said. “Anything can happen in them, but I also know you don’t want to make them more than what they are. They’re just one game on your schedule, and I’ve learned about the school 12 miles to the west of us, and the success they’ve had.”
Second half struggles doomed the Warriors in a 53-41 season opening loss Friday at Goessel.
A pair of 3-pointers from Seth Lanning helped Marion to an early 6-5, but it remained a close match with both teams struggling to shoot well.
Marion grabbed a 23-22 lead early in the third quarter on a basket by Braedon Mercer, but Goessel regained the lead and hung on to win.
Lanning ended the night with 18 points, followed by Mercer with 8, and Will Alleven with 6.
Reporter Delbert Peters contributed to this story.
Last modified Dec. 10, 2020