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Boys' Basketball: Red Wing in search of more wins

Red Wing's DonTray Johnson (10) drives to the rim during the Wingers game against Hibbing on Nov. 30. Martin Schlegel / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
Red Wing's Mac DeSutter (0) attempts a 3-point shot during the Wingers' season-opener on Nov. 30. Martin Schlegel / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 3
Red Wing's Carson Nystuen (5) shoots from beyond the arc during the Wingers' Nov. 30 game against Hibbing. Martin Schlegel / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

Learning to win again.

That's the goal for head coach Drew Olinger and the Red Wing boys' basketball team as the season begins.

"The hardest thing that we have to get to with these guys is we almost have to start from square one and teach them how to win again," Olinger said after Friday's season-opening game. "It's been two years in a row of not winning a whole lot. Winning is a very difficult thing in the Big Nine. So we have to slowly but surely teach them to win games when we're in games and competing in games."

In the past two years, Red Wing has won just 12 games combined. The team is out to change its fortunes from those two years, but Olinger said it's hard to put a number on the amount of wins the team will have this year.

Over the weekend, the Wingers lost two games during its own tournament. While losing in its own tournament isn't a good feeling, the Wingers should gain confidence heading into conference play.

In their game against Hibbing, the Wingers fell behind early. Red Wing trailed 17-3 at one point, but managed to make a game of it by spreading the ball around. Olinger said after Friday's game against Hibbing, he'd like that to continue.

"More touches, and quick touches, from different guys is very valuable for us," Olinger said. "If you look at our size, we'll probably have to shoot really well from three."

Deso Buck, a freshman guard, led the Wingers with 47 points combined in the weekend tournament. Olinger praised his efforts after Friday's game.

But, like Olinger said, the team will need everyone to be involved in the offense. By spreading the ball around, the Wingers figure to get plenty of open shots and put up some high scoring totals. Players like DonTray Johnson, Zach Cota and Carson Nystuen should benefit from the quick-touch offense and supply most of the scoring with any of the three leading the team on any given night.

For now, the Wingers will need to gain momentum. In particular the momentum of winning. Even with the tournament losses, Red Wing wasn't blown out by two quality Class AAA opponents.

Red Wing figures to win more than past years. Olinger said the team needs to clean up the little things in order to win.

"Those little things, like driving to the bucket instead of taking a contested three, are things we have to work on in a close and a tight game," Olinger said.