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Andy Roberts • Oceana’s Herald-Journal file photo

Pentwater’s Khole Hofmann (right) goes up for a shot at the end of the third quarter of a game last season against Walkerville. The Wildcats’ Shane Achterhof defends. Hofmann was first team all-league last year and will again be central to Pentwater’s success.

Pentwater had a tremendous season last year, earning a share of the West Michigan D League championship. The Falcons, though, were denied a shot to win the district title when COVID-19 shut down high school sports one day before they were set to play for the trophy.

With four returning starters from last season, Pentwater should have no shortage of motivation and opportunity to get back to that stage this year, even with the kind of season that’s coming being as uncertain as ever.

“As a program of veteran leadership, we are encouraged and determined to win more games than last season at 19 wins,” Pentwater coach Ashley Wojtas said. “We have in our sights another conference championship and we will work to make district finals for another championship. Our goal as a program is to tackle each and every day, moment by moment. We are prepared for any changes.”

The focal point for the Falcons is senior Khole Hofmann, a third-year starter. Coming off an all-state season on the gridiron for Mason County Central, Hofmann looks to add to his long string of double-doubles as Pentwater’s most athletic player, and its best rebounder and inside presence.

In the backcourt, Hofmann will have plenty of familiar friendly faces to turn to. Tyler Plummer-Eisenlohr had a strong sophomore season as point guard last year and should build on that this winter. Opposite him most of the time will be senior captain Blake Bringedahl, who should see an uptick in playing time and in scoring after already serving as one of the better backcourt defenders on the team.

“(They) will all be key ball handlers and shooters for us,” Wojtas said of her top three returners. “I have a core of two seniors that will lead this youthful team, and if a few underclassmen step up we will produce a solid result.”

Also back is center Jack Stoneman, who is experienced and a valuable rebounder and defensive presence. Brandon Macher has seen plenty of action on Pentwater athletic fields and is poised for a strong season as well.

Those returning players will lead the team, but the Falcons should see some contributions from Reydyn Hugo, who was one of the top JV players last season.

“What makes us a great team again this season, coming off 19 wins last season, is some depth,” Wojtas said. “When starters need a break, the guys going in will pick up where the starters left off.”

The WMD schedule will be more urgent this year than last, as each conference opponent will only play each other once due to the condensed schedule. That adds more juice to the meetings between the best teams. Wojtas expects Brethren, who shared last year’s league title with the Falcons, to again be a major factor, and Baldwin and Big Rapids Crossroads are consistently strong as well.

“We have to walk in ready and prepared to win each night,” Wojtas said. “We have set goals for ourselves this season and look forward to our depth...It should be a great season.”