The Aitkin High School boys basketball team has a new head coach this season – one who is very familiar with the program.

Scott Stanfield had been an assistant behind Kerry Hopperstad and now takes over the helm. He is excited about his team this season.

“We are off to a good start,” said Stanfield. “The kids are picking things up quickly and are getting used to the mask mandate.”

Stanfield said the team brings back some good players, including one of the top scorers from a year ago, Hunter Nissen.

“A good leader on the floor and off,” he said.

Joining him are Owen Hagen and Jaeland Williams, “two kids who know the game,” according to Stanfield. Zach MacDonald will run the floor at the point and Landon Janzen is back after a year off.

“Alex Palm does some great things on the court,” Stanfield said, who also likes Sam Sanford.

“He is capable of defending bigger kids and has lots of energy,” the coach explained.

Aitkin opens at Park Rapids Thursday, Jan. 14 with its first home game Jan. 18 against Staples/Motley.

 “We’re ahead of any pace we’ve had the past several years so that bodes well for us,” Stanfield said. “We have a tough schedule and the Mid-State (conference) will be very tough as always but I think we’ll be in every game.

“We don’t have a big team or that one big guy like last year but we have a scrappy bunch,” he added.  “I like a team that can run up and down the floor.”

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