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The Mount Ayr Raiders open their 2020-21 season with a different feel as they have to revamp their varsity roster from last season. The Raiders have lost over 80 percent of their scoring as they graduated eight seniors from the 2019-2020 Sub-state Finalist team from last year. However, the “cupboard is not bare” as Mount Ayr returns two All-Pride of Iowa Conference guards in Payton Weehler and Jaixen Frost as well as a very athletic junior varsity group looking to make their mark.
Offensively the Raiders will look to lean on their top two guards, but two top newcomers to the scoring front will be senior Erik Trujillo and junior Cody Larsen. Both talented players dominated the junior varsity scene last year and are looking to step in immediately to Head Coach Bret Ruggles 41 offense. Ruggles will be looking for some support from other newcomers in seniors Rhett Larsen, Riley Maudlin, and Briar Knapp as well as sophomore Riley Stark and freshman Ryce Reynolds. Three new members to the team this year that will also be in the mix will be sophomores Trey Fooken, Brayden Pierson, and Klayton Yoder who are entering the program for their first season.
Defensively, Mount Ayr will have to use their speed and athleticism to help create “havoc” on the floor. Mount Ayr has been known for the stingy zone play, so the Raiders will need to lean on their athleticism to fill the gaps that their size has been used to providing. The addition of Trujillo and Larsen will be a great addition as both players provide a lot of speed to the zone and will need to provide rebounding, which only returns less than 5 percent.
The Raiders will kick-off the year in Leon at 6 p.m. on November 23 at the Central Decatur Jamboree.
The first home action for the Raiders will come December 1 as they host Panorma at 6 p.m.