PITTSBURG — Everything seems to be in place for the Pittsburg High School boys’ basketball team to contend for a state championship, as the Purple Dragons begin the year ranked No. 1 in the coaches’ poll.

The stage is set and the standards have never been higher, so the time to win is now.

“We’re coming into this season with a lot higher expectations,” PHS head coach Kiley Roelfs said. “I think our kids and the community have high expectations of this team, and that’s different than last year. I think we’ve always had some of those expectations, but nothing like this season. We tell our guys that expectations is just like talk, they don’t matter. It’s all about our actions and how we prove it everyday we take the floor in practice and in games.”

Pittsburg’s senior-laden team looks to get the most of its potential this season and make a push to win a state title.

“Our six seniors are program guys,” Roelfs said. “They’ve been with us all four years and they know what’s expected. They like the pressure and they like each other. They love the game, they love to play with each other and they’re unselfish. They do a great job of leading by example in those aspects. We also have some guys that our vocal leaders on our team. It’s just a good group of seniors and the kind of group you want to go to battle with.”

The Purple Dragons finished 19-3 last season and are ready to improve in the new campaign.

“The SEK always has high-quality basketball,” Roelfs said. “There was a lot of young talent in our league last year, so everybody returns a lot of talent. Because of that, I expect every team to be better than they were last year. Traditionally, we know that we better bring it every night because you can lose any game. That’s been typical of the SEK and I don’t think this year will be any different.”

Winning in the SEK never comes an easy, but Roelfs said the Purple Dragons are excited to begin the season and ready to live up to the hype.

“We have to stay connected, that’s probably the biggest thing,” Roelfs said. “We have to stay connected and we can’t be content. We just have to get better every day. Being connected in our program is a big part of being successful at the end of the year. The more your guys are working as one unit, the better shot you have. That’s the No. 1 thing that sticks out in my mind.”

 — Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittbsurg Morning Sun. E-mail him at jbuckamneer@morningsun.net and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.