Macks Creek Pirates, Camdenton Lakers, Eldon Mustangs, Versailles Tigers, Climax Springs Cougars and Osage Indians

MACKS CREEK PIRATES

From Head Coach Brett Case: 

Class/District: Class 1, District 7

2016-17 Record or Finish: 12-14 overall 

Graduated or Moved Players: Austin Zollman and Cameron Charlton

Top Returners and Any Accolades: Senior Braden Bowman, junior Justin Register, junior Zane Whitworth and junior Oscar Cortez

Q: What are you looking forward to as you begin your first season as the head coach of the Macks Creek boys’ basketball program?

A: We have a great group of boys this season. They are very coachable and are always trying to find ways to improve their game. I'm excited to see how much they progress as the season goes along.

Q: Are there any definite strengths with this team at this point in time?

A: Our biggest strength is going to be our versatility. We have a number of players who can play in multiple positions, which can make things tough for the opposing team. 

Q: As the season goes along, what are you hoping the team can improve upon?

A: The two things we are going to have to work the hardest at this year will be defending and rebounding. If we can improve upon those two things every day, we have a chance to have some success.

Q: Are there any specific goals and what would you say the keys to success are for this year?

A: If we can stay healthy this season our goal is to make a deep run in districts and beyond.

CAMDENTON LAKERS

From Head Coach Craig Campbell:

Class/District: Class 5, District 10

2016-17 Record or Finish: 5-20 overall

Moved or Graduated Athletes: Dyllan Decker and Hunter Glynn

Top Returners and Any Accolades: Senior Garrett Golliher, senior Connor Graves, senior Austin Carter, junior Kelton Virtue and sophomore Brandon Pasley

Q: What are you looking forward to as you begin your first season as the head coach of the Camdenton boys’ basketball program?

A: I am looking forward to getting to know the kids here at Camdenton and to work on establishing a foundation to build a program for now and in the future. Camdenton has a good group of kids that are working hard and improving both academically and athletically.

Q: Are there any definite strengths with this team at this point in time?

A: This particular team has a strength that they can play positionless basketball, meaning all five guys on the floor can play all five positions.

Q: As the season goes along, what are you hoping the team can improve upon?

A: For us to improve on last year's record, we must have a defensive identity. This means we take pride in guarding the other team and make them work harder than they are used to doing to play with us.

Q: Are there any specific goals and what would you say the key to success are for this year?

A: We want to be playing our best basketball by the end of the year. We will do that if we enjoy what we are doing, work hard every day to improve and focus on each day one at a time. We can't look down the road, but must work each day to get a little better. It is a process to building a winning team and program. Luckily, we have guys that are determined to do that.

ELDON MUSTANGS

From Head Coach Brandon Kliethermes: 

2016-17 Record or Finish: 1-24 overall 

Moved or Graduated Athletes: Colby Whiteside, Devin Lewis, Morgan Anderson and Jacob Whittle

Top Returners and Any Accolades: Senior Devin Degraffenreid, senior Drew Rodriguez, senior Kaiden Mays, senior Jordan Metz, sophomore Logan Hall and sophomore Clayton Moore

Q: What are you looking forward to as your team returns for the 2017 season?

A: We had some guys work very hard in the offseason. We are looking forward to seeing their growth and their improvements show up on the floor.

Q: Are there any definite strengths with this team at this point in time?

A: We really like our depth. We have a lot of guys that are familiar with their roles and can really excel in them. We also feel like our guys have a very good grasp on what we do. So, we have been able to hit the ground running when practice started. 

Q: As the season goes along, what are you hoping this team can improve upon?

A: We are not going to be super big in any position so we are going to have to be very tenacious in rebounding the ball. Developing that mindset throughout the year is something we look forward to building.

Q: Are there any specific goals and what would you say the keys to success are for this year?

A: We have to limit turnovers to be effective on offense. We had way too many unforced turnovers last year and that allows teams to make runs. Defensively, we have to have a team rebounding mentality. As I said earlier, we are going to be undersized a lot, so if we don't collectively rebound the ball, that could put us in some bad spots this season. 

VERSAILLES TIGERS

From Head Coach Jason Ollison:

Class/District: Class 3, District 13

2016-17 Record or Finish: 12-15 overall and 3-4 in the Tri-County Conference, District Semifinals

Moved or Graduated Athletes: Shane Randall, Hunter Edgar, Tyler Zolecki and Bryce Kephart

Top Returners and Any Accolades: Senior Jonathan Geier, junior Wyatt Espinosa and sophomore Coby Williams (All-Conference Honorable Mention and MBCA All-District) 

Q: What are you looking forward to as your team returns for the 2017 season?

A: Our backcourt is returning and that is always a good thing. We have made improvements on defense and hopefully we will continue to see those improvements as the season progresses. I am very excited to see the 20 freshmen and sophomores we have in the program and how they will contribute at all levels. 

Q: Are there any definite strengths with this team at this point in time?

A: Our perimeter play should be better this year. Jonathan, Coby and Wyatt all played a ton of minutes last season and improved as the season went on. We will add some depth on the perimeter this year too, with some of the underclassmen improving from last season.

Q: As the season goes along, what are you hoping the team can improve upon?

A: Rebounding and defense are a couple of areas that we will need to continue to focus on improving if we want to compete in the conference and in the district tournament. Because of our size, our interior defense will also be something that we will have to do well in this league.

Q: Are there any specific goals and what would you say the keys to success are for this year?

A: The boys have set many goals for the season, chief among them is winning a district championship. The boys felt that we let an opportunity get away last year and they are very determined to not let that happen again. Time will tell, but I believe we have a good core group of athletes that can lead us in the right direction. The best part about it is that most of our upperclassmen are three-sport athletes, which I think helps build the camaraderie that all great teams have.

CLIMAX SPRINGS COUGARS

From Head Coach James Butterfield:

Class/District: Class 1, District 7

2016-17 Record or Finish: 3-19 overall

Moved or Graduated Athletes: Nathan Izatt

Top Returners and Any Accolades: Junior Jake Reed (2nd Team All-District)

Q: What are you looking forward to as your team returns for the 2017 season?

A: We were a really young team and will be again this year. We will be playing one junior, four sophomores and four freshmen on the varsity this year. The loss of Nathan will be felt. He was our center and team leader, but Jake averaged 13.9 points and 10 rebounds a game as a sophomore and we are expecting big things from him. 

Q: Are there any definite strengths with this team at this point in time?

A: Our strengths are our size and depth this year. Some of my freshmen and sophomores will give us quality minutes. 

Q: As the season goes along, what are you hoping the team can improve upon?

Our ball handling has been an issue for us in the past, but I expect that to greatly improve this season. 

Q: Are there any specific goals and what would you say the keys to success are for this year?

We expect to compete night in and night out all year. 

OSAGE INDIANS

From Head Coach Kevin Schnicker: 

Class/District: Class 4, District 11

2017 Record or Finish: 15-12 overall and 4-3 in the Tri-County Conference, District Semifinals

Moved or Graduated Athletes: Jason Edwards, CJ Myers, Logan Benedict, James McCann and Payton Bartlett

Top Returners and Any Accolades: Senior Keyton Knamiller (1st Team All-District, Sportswriters All-District, 2nd Team All-Conference), senior Zach Wheeler (1st Team All-District, Sportswriters All-District and Honorable Mention All-Conference) senior Drake Gaines and junior Dalton Depeé

Q: What are you looking forward to as your team returns for the 2017 season?

A: I'm looking forward to being able to coach these guys every day: the opportunity to watch them grow even further as young men and towards becoming a TEAM! Our guys have improved each year in our program and they really know what it what it takes to be successful. I know they will take it one game at a time.

Q: Are there any definite strengths with this team at this point in time?

A: Our strength would be that we have established our culture, and even though it is still growing and ongoing, our players are buying into the program and trusting the process. Our players will play hard, enjoy each other (brotherhood) and do what we do! They strive to play ABOVE THE LINE while being extremely accountable and knowing it is NOT ABOUT THEM!

Q: As the season goes along, what are you hoping the team can improve upon?

A: We hope that we can continue to grow as a TEAM and improve the culture that has been established. We would like to see the guys play with a lot of energy and excitement. The improvement of team chemistry and growth on and off the court will help us move towards our team goals for this season.

Q: Are there any specific goals and what would you say the keys to success are for this year?

A: Our guys want to compete for a conference and district championship. We want to improve on wins as we have the past three years. We want to play on the right side of all tournaments we play in and strive to play for the championships of those. We want to represent the Osage community in a way to bring honor and respect in the manner we care ourselves and play.  

Our keys to success will be remaining coachable throughout the year and giving maximum effort at all times. We must have great attitude and effort every night with our tough schedule, but we look forward to the challenges!