December 9, 2021
Chat with Coach Biehl #1
by Brother Neal Golden, S.C. (CJ ’57)
The Crusader varsity basketball team has begun the 2021-22 season 9-0 after defeating Bonnabel 65-44 last Friday night.
Coach Chris Biehl says, “We have a lot more depth than last year, and I’m excited about that. We feel like we’re strong #1 through #10. We also have good size.
“We had to replace three extremely good starters and four good seniors, but we return 6’4” junior Guard Corey Skillman, 6’2” senior Guard Marvin Jones, and 6’2” senior Guard Jace Patin. We were worried about this season, but early in the off-season conditioning program, the staff and I felt that this group was working harder than any group we’ve had. And that’s saying a lot because we hang our hat on outworking our opponents. The conditioning these boys went through is phenomenal. They kept asking for more.
“Once practices started, the same attitude of being relentless kicked in. We scrimmaged some pretty good teams. All the coaches were surprised at how ahead of the game we were. The chemistry among the team is phenomenal. They genuinely like each other and hang out with each other. In all my years as a coach, the best teams are the ones that like each other. This may not be the most talented team I’ve had since I’ve been here, but they’re a tight-knit group and have a chance to do some special things. I like this team. They’re fun to coach.
“We named Corey the captain because he’s more vocal and went to a leadership workshop this summer. But they all hold themselves accountable. The seniors have been good about teaching the young guys.
“The team has more size than last year. The tallest player is 6’6” Ray Lotten, a junior who sat out last year after transferring from Jesuit. “He’s been a blessing, a gentle giant we’re trying to make a little less gentle. He’s had some really good games already.”
The Crusaders have defeated some talented teams, such as West Jefferson and St. Amant. They won both the eight-team Grace King Tip-Off Classic and our own eight-team Crusader Invitational Tournament.
“We beat Parkview Baptist, who I believe will be a 20-win team this year. We also beat Episcopal, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they play in the state championship this year in their Division.”
Who is the biggest threat in our district? “Archbishop Shaw. They’ve been on the doorstep of being among the best teams in the district. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the state championship this year. They’re that good.
“St. Augustine is tough to read because they’re replacing four starters. Rummel will be much improved, and Jesuit is always tough. Curtis has got talent. Their QB Buddy Taylor is their best player. Holy Cross lost a lot of talent, but their coach does a good job.”
The Crusaders play in the H. L. Bourgeois Tournament this weekend. The next home game is Saturday, December 18 against perennial 4A power Edna Karr.