By The Telegram

When it comes to experience, the Hugoton Eagles will have plenty of it. But, when it comes to experience with height, that's a different story.

"Strengths will be our outside shooting and quickness," fifth-year Hugoton boys coach Jason Hajek said. "Also, we return four starters and two other returning lettermen who saw significant playing time last year. Weaknesses lack of height."

The Eagles are set when it comes to guards and forwards back from last season. Senior guard Zach Dunlap, an All Hi-Plains League selection last year, leads Hugoton into the new season. At 6-foot though, Dunlap is the Eagles' second tallest returner behind senior Aaron Lulf (6-2), who was a reserve last season. Seniors Keithan Martin, Tate Reed and Caleb Gifford, who all stand 5-10, will be leaned on to lend their leadership along with Dunlap. Another senior, Ty Concannon, gives the Eagles a boost with experience.

"We're very excited to get the season underway," Hajek said. "Although we are not very tall, the kids work extremely hard. For us to be successful this year we must be great defenders and rebounders and simply outwork our opponents. This is a great group of kids. We have great senior leadership."

The Eagles were 11-10 last season and 5-5 in the HPL.

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When your team is coming off a winless season, the only way to look is up.

At least it's the way first-year Hugoton girls coach Lee Gillen is looking at it. The veteran coach who led both the Ulysses' boys and girls basketball teams in the past, moved south this season after a three-year hiatus from the courtside bench.

"Building stage," Gillen said. "We have a lot of work to do. The goal is to get better each day."

The cupboard isn't bear for Gillen to begin his tenure at Hugoton. The Lady Eagles do return four letter winners, but not much height goes along with it. Senior post Mariah Ramsey is the tallest at 5-8. The other three returners are all guards in seniors Kai Gustafsen, Kenzey Sandoval and junior Ashley Goode. All three are 5-5.

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Hugoton

Boys coach: Jason Hajeck, 5th season

2008-2009 Boys Record: 11-10

Returning starters: Zach Dunlap (6-0, Sr. G); Keithan Martin (5-10, Sr. G); Tate Reed (5-10, Sr. G-F); Caleb Gifford (5-10, Sr. G-F).

Other top returners and newcomers: Ty Concannon (5-9, Sr., G); Aaron Lulf (6-2, Sr., G-F); Cody Frederick (So., G.); James Persinger (So., G-F); Angel Lopez (Sr., F).

Coach: Lee Gillen, 1st season

2008-2009 Girls Record: 0-21

Top returners: Kai Gustafsen (5-5, G, Sr.); Mariah Ramsey (5-8, P, Sr.); Kenzey Sandoval (5-5, G, Sr.); Asley Goode (5-5, G, Jr.).