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Paynesville Press - December 4, 2002

Bulldogs see themselves as underdogs

By Kevin Mehr

Over the last three years, the Paynesville boys' basketball team has won just 13 games. They've had three different head coaches and have been bounced from the playoffs in the first round each year.

But the Dogs are confident that with their new head coach and strategy they can erase any doubt about them being a solid team.

Phil Carlson will take over as the new head coach, replacing Steve Little, who was with the team for the past two seasons. Carlson previously coached at Sauk Rapids High School and came to PAHS to teach math. He coached the junior varsity last season for the Dogs, while also being an assistant head coach. Ross Englested will coach the junior varsity this year, and Rick Houske will coach the ninth grade.

The Dogs return four players with varsity experience. Seniors Riley Flanders, Kevin Mehr, and Josh Teicher all started at least five games a year ago, while junior Adam Kampsen started most of last season. The captains this year are Teicher and Kampsen.

The 15-member varsity team includes 10 seniors and five juniors. Seniors are Flanders, Tommy Flannigan, Josh Kampsen, Mehr, Eric Miller, Josh Price, Mike Schlick, Teicher, Sam Thompson, and Milan Virant. Juniors are Andrew Ainsley, Jordan Haag, Adam Hemmesch, Adam Kampsen, and Doug Mages.

"We know we're going to be underdogs almost every time we step out on the court, but we have to earn our respect. If we start winning games, teams will have to respect us and that will build our confidence," said Adam Kampsen.

The Bulldogs will resume play in the always tough West Central North Conference, even though Litchfield, last year's state champs, have left for the Wright County Conference.

"I can't guarantee a win every night, but if we play hard smart basketball, we can play with anyone," said Carlson.

The Dogs played in an exhibition scrimmage on Saturday at Buffalo Lake-Hector. They played well for the most part, but needed to sharpen their skills a bit before their season opener against Kimball at home on Tuesday. The Bulldogs will play their next game at home, too, against Annandale on Tuesday, Dec. 10.

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