“This year is going to be a lot of fun.”

These were the first words first-year Spartan Coach Tom Osborne said in his preview of the 2017-18 Ridgewood Spartan boys basketball season. Osborne, who is no stranger to the bench, is very excited and optimistic for the Spartans this season.

“This year is going to be a lot of fun.”

These were the first words first-year Spartan Coach Tom Osborne said in his preview of the 2017-18 Ridgewood Spartan boys basketball season. Osborne, who is no stranger to the bench, is very excited and optimistic for the Spartans this season.

Osborne himself played college basketball at Black Hawk and has coached the sport at all levels, including a stint as the assistant and eventual head coach of the Annwawn Braves.

Brent Vincent is returning as the frosh-soph coach for the Spartans, while Osborne will have Brad Jackson and Shane Lindburg riding the pine with him.

The Spartans, who finished last year with a 19-12 record (5-4 in the Lincoln Trail Conference), are looking to improve on last season’s performance.

The Spartans lost Tyler English and All-Conference 1,000-point scorer Jared Smith to graduation but still have a strong group with returning starters Briar Greenman, Travis Kane and Max Nuckles. All three had strong seasons and should provide a lot of fire power for the Spartans.

Joining this trio of seniors will be returning Spartans Riley Nelson, Timmy Heady, Levi Swanson and Spencer Beck. Senior Dawson Anderson, as well as some key juniors, will need to contribute for the Spartans to have a successful year.

Jordan Francis and Kaleb Buss will be looking to make an impact for Ridgewood, moving up from a frosh-soph team who won the LTC last season.

Carson Osborne, a junior transfer from Annawan, will also be looking to fill in Smith’s shoes.

The Spartans will be battling in an LTC where there is no clear-cut favorite. Annawan has been given an early nod with a preseason ranking of fourth in the state, but the conference is up for grabs and the Spartans will be reaching for the title.

In looking around the LTC in addition to Annawan, Mercer County has a new coach but brings a strong group of athletes to the floor. Wethersfield will be athletic and will look to be in the mix. Galva brings an All-Conference point guard and forward from last year, so the conference is really up for grabs.

“The LTC is really loaded with talent this season, so we will need to bring our A game every night because every game could have a tremendous impact on the outcome of the conference,” Osborne said regarding the Lincoln Trail.

The Spartans will be kicking off their season on Wednesday, Nov. 22, in the Ridgewood Turkey Tournament. The tournament will run Wednesday, Friday, Nov. 24, and Saturday, Nov.

The Spartans will be in Cambridge on Tuesday, Dec. 19, against Orion and on Friday, Feb. 9, against Princeville.

All regular season games begin with the frosh-soph game starting at 6 p.m.