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Axtell boys are hungry to return to the postseason, but know obstacles are aplenty in league play.

The lone problem facing the Axtell Eagle boys days after winning the state football championship is the risk of starting off the basketball season slowly and doubters wondering "Are these just football players playing basketball?"

That might have been the case at the beginnings of the last two years, but those thoughts were quickly extinguished as Axtell advanced to the 1A D-II Basketball tournament taking home a 4th place finish one year ago.

Now as they open the 2023-24 season, expectations are just as high and the hunger to add a basketball trophy to their growing display is ravenous. After all, for the first time in recent history, the Eagles are healthy to start a season, probably the biggest key for any team this early.

The athleticism on this team is undeniable, Eli Broxterman and Landon Schmitz at the guard spot are strong shooters and work hard on both ends of the court. When you add in Brandon Schmelzle, who will be asked to play guard at times and forward at others it makes for quite a formidable trio.

Inside, Grady Buessing has the confidence to go up against any of the best in the league. His ability to jump, rebound, and score is growing by the day. Buessing is going to be one of the top players to watch in the Twin Valley League this year and may be one of the biggest reasons for Axtell's success this year.

As usual in the TVL, I think there are legitimately 6 or 7 teams that will vie for the league and tournament championships, but until someone proves different, you have to believe that the 2023 winners have the chance to make it back to the top.

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