Comet basketball teams to host Black and Orange Blowout Friday starting at 7 p.m.
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — Update on the Charles City girls basketball team — the Comets are not in the same spot they were at this time last year.
That’s why Dave Rottinghaus is so excited.
“You can already see the improvement this first week in practice,” Rottinghaus said earlier this month when he and fellow co-head coach Rusty Rogotzke returned for the second season.
“They’ve made themselves into basketball players, and we can progress from there. We don’t have to spend as much time on the basic fundamentals like we had to do last year.”
Rottinghaus and Rogotzke stepped up in the 11th hour last season to fill a head-coaching void.
Though Rogotzke has been a longtime coach and educator in the school system, Rottinghaus — a former Comet standout who went on to play NCAA Division I basketball at Wyoming — is employed outside of the school and knew little beforehand about the players he was to coach.
“Now, I know these girls and have a better understanding of what they can do,” he said.
Comet boys basketball head coach Ben Klapperich has had a little longer time to get acquainted with the players on his team as he heads into the eighth season at Charles City.
“We have 10 seniors coming back this year,” Klapperich said earlier this week several days after practice officially started for the boys.
“Many of these guys were in grade school when I first started. But they would often come to our games and saw players like Jack Molstead and Cade Hemesath … guys who have inspired them to become Comets themselves,” Klapperich said. “That’s how you build a strong program … players inspiring future players to follow in their footsteps.”
Both varsity teams are due to hold an open scrimmage for the general public at Comet Gym this Friday starting at 7 p.m. as part of the school’s annual “Black and Orange Blowout”. There will also be numerous basketball-related skill contests for fans to participate in.
On Saturday, the Comet girls will open the season on the road against Waterloo East with the varsity tipoff at 1 p.m. — time changed from previously scheduled.
The Comet boys will open the season on the road against Cedar Rapids Xavier on Nov. 28 — the team will host Garner-Hayfield-Ventura for a varsity scrimmage at 9 a.m. Nov. 25.