CRETE, Neb. -- Crete boys basketball went 19-7 last season with a state tournament appearance. Led by Head Coach Tony Siske, in his fourth season, the team is looking to make it back, but not looking too far ahead this early. 

“We have high expectations and that’s what we want,” Siske said. “To be, every year, competing in March but we are not going to look ahead. We’re focused on our practices right now and getting ready for our first game.”

The team is filled with upperclassmen who went to Lincoln last season and played in Pinnacle Bank Arena before falling to Skutt Catholic.

“We have seven seniors. A couple of them were hurt last year but the other five have played at least one year,” Siske said. “A lot of them have played multiple years. It’s a really good group. The best thing about them is that they expect a lot of themselves. They are coming to practice every day and pushing themselves and pushing the younger guys.”

Ben Ehlers, a senior, said that the team’s goal is to win a state championship and the entire team is working hard to accomplish that goal. 

“A lot of us have been working really hard to get past that point to where we were at," Ehlers said. "Our ultimate goal is to win a state championship so a lot of people have been working hard to complete that. Our senior class has been really good at keeping everyone accountable, making sure all of the freshman, sophomores, and juniors are all getting reps and working hard.”

Aidan McDowell, a senior point guard, is working as hard as he can now so that he will be ready for the later portion of the season. 

“You want to be playing your best come February and March and that starts right now,” McDowell said. “So, working hard right now and cleaning the stuff up to get ready to go play the 30th. You’re gonna have rough patches in the season, it is a long season, so you just have to persevere through that and then come March, hopefully you are playing good basketball, and working hard in practice really helps with that.”

Siske and his staff have been in Crete for three seasons, which he believes gives his staff and his players a big advantage.

“This is our fourth year here as a coaching staff so it's nice that we are hitting the ground running a little more each year so they know what is expected of them at practice and they’re coming and competing hard every day,” Siske said.

Crete will open its season with back to back games, at home against Ralston on Nov. 30 and on the road against Bennington on Dec. 1. They will be looking to get back to Pinnacle Bank Arena in March.