2020 Lake area boys basketball preview

MICHAEL LOSCH, Lake Sun Sports Editor
Climax Springs junior Mark Henderson.

CAMDENTON LAKERS

From Head Coach Craig Campbell:

2019-20 Record/Finish: 5-22 with a loss to Helias Catholic in the district semifinals

Moved or graduated athletes: Paxton DeLaurent, Brandon Pasley, Drake Miller and Jamen O'Quinn

Top returners and any accolades: A trio of senior starters, Joel Mason, Tony Glynn, and Parker Garrett. There are eight returning lettermen. Seniors Brayden Blackman and Cody Hendrix, junior Kyle Christiansen and sophomores Kam Durnin, Aaron Poage, Javari Stewart, Cooper Barrett and Ethan Evans.

Q: What are you looking forward to as your team returns for a brand new season?

A: Looking forward to getting on the court and playing other competition. With the current situation in the world we don't know how many games we will actually get to play or if we will get to finish our season. The boys have worked hard this fall and are excited to see it pay off this year.

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

A: One strength of the team this year will be the experience we gained last year. Having multiple players returning is a benefit, especially early in the year. Another strength is the buy-in to our theme this year of "Toughness" and understanding that each day our goal is to be better than we were the day before. They also understand that they will not always succeed, but to strive to keep improving.

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

A: Our team chemistry will be something that will be a year-long process. Meshing multiple grade levels and personalities together for overall team success will be the goal. We have started off fairly well, and I look forward to seeing where we can get to as the year progresses.

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

A: Our team goals are the same as every year- compete every night no matter the opponent and strive to be playing our best basketball come the end of the year.

Another key to success this year is putting team success before individual success. The individual success will come, this follows our "Toughness" theme, knowing the "toughest" players aren't always the "best" players, but when they are the same then the team is more successful.

OSAGE INDIANS

From Head Coach Craig Engelbrecht:

2019-20 Record/Finish: 5-20 with a loss to Marshall in the first round of districts

Moved or graduated athletes: Dylan Long, Drew Edwards, Logan Havner, James Hutchcraft, Cameron Heiser, Collin Chilton and Michael Lasater

Top returners and any accolades: Brockton McLaughlin, Alton Drace, Quentin Britton, Drew Elley, Jace Hills, Dalton Stoecklein and Grant Steen

Q: What are you looking forward to as your team returns for a brand new season?

A: I am looking forward to developing team chemistry that will lead us to playing hard, playing together, and playing smart.

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

A: I hope a strength of our team will be our depth. I hope we will be able to wear teams down throughout the course of a game. We believe in the Golden State Warriors motto, "Strength in Numbers".

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

A: I hope as the season progresses both our offense and defense will be more cohesive. As we become more familiar with one another, both our offense and defense should continue to develop and improve.

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

A: The key to success is to stay healthy and buy into an up-tempo pressing style of play. If we play hard and stay unified we will be successful. 

ELDON MUSTANGS

From Head Coach Cory Casey:

2019-20 Record/Finish: 3-20 with a loss to Father Tolton in the first round of districts

Moved or graduated athletes: Logan Hall, Collin Tamm, Clayton Moore and Sam Rivera

Top returners and any accolades: Senior Aidan Wells (second in team scoring last season averaging 11 points per game), senior P.J. Bledsoe and senior Jordan Hogan

Q: What are you looking forward to as your team returns for a brand new season?

A: Seeing how well our team responds to what we are trying to implement as far as strategy and culture.

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

A: We are quicker than last year and I believe we will be better defensively and move the ball better offensively. We are just inexperienced. It will be interesting to see how quickly my inexperienced guys can adjust to the speed of a varsity game.

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

A: I hope we can improve on our ability to recognize and react to defenses and learn how to score and make the correct reads. I hope we can learn to value every possession and not play casual. I want us defensively to play through every play and not let down when things don’t go our way, but to fight through adversity.

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

A: Specific goals we talk about are things like drawing two charges a game, getting five good shots for every turnover, rebounding evenly with our opponents, and getting at least three lockdowns a game,(a lockdown is three defensive stops in a row.)

The keys to success are achieving these specific goals, but also to carry ourselves well both on and off the court in how we fight to the end, giving ourselves a chance to be in games, and not quitting, These are the qualities of success we are looking for this year and qualities we will build this program on.

VERSAILLES TIGERS

From Head Coach Jason Ollison:

2019-20 Record/Finish: 12-14 with a loss to Fatima in the first round of districts

Moved or graduated athletes: Coby Williams, Austin Zolecki, Quinn Randall, Brayden Morrison, Trent Hyman and Dallas Waller all graduated.

Top returners and any accolades: Seniors Seth Newton, Jordan Williams, Michael Bell, Mikhail Gulyayev, Preston Mullins and Kyle Bartlett and juniors Kole Viebrock, Justin Hamrick, Cole Wilson and Eli Gulyayev

Q: What are you looking forward to as your team returns for a brand new season?

A: We are looking forward to just having the opportunity to play. With the way things went for us during football season, we are just hopeful that we can stay healthy and away from the virus. We will look a lot different this season and hopefully it will allow kids to relax and play in a way that suits them. We have a good number of solid players and we are going to try to utilize that this season.

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

A: Depth and quickness are two strengths that we feel we have. We feel that we have eight to 10 guys who can lead us offensively on any given night, and that is something that we are trying to take advantage of. I think if we can adapt to a new style of play and focus on the process of playing basketball, we will enjoy a successful season.

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

A: Rebounding will be our achilles’ heel this season. We will have to “gang” rebound because of our lack of size. If we can improve on those things as the season goes on, we will improve greatly as a team.

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

A: With COVID and the uncertainty of playing an entire season, we have focused our goal setting to process goals within each game. We will have goals for forced turnovers, offensive rebound percentage and shot differential as well as some others that are more specific to our personnel. Hopefully we will get all of our games in, but if not we feel we have these guys focused on the correct things as the season moves along. 

MACKS CREEK PIRATES

From Head Coach Ron Duggan:

2019-20 Record/Finish: 17-10 with a loss to Climax Springs in the district semifinals

Moved or graduated athletes: Hunter Lane (All-State), Colton Walter (All-District) and Cole Register (Honorable Mention All-District)

Top returners and any accolades: Seniors Tanner Smith and Trevor Haines, juniors Austin Brown and Mason Whitworth and sophomores Logan Gallamore and Chase Whitworth

Q: What are you looking forward to as your team returns for a brand new season?

A: This will definitely be a rebuilding year. We have great numbers and competition for playing time is high, which makes for great practices. We may surprise a few people as our team matures.

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

A: Fundamentals will be our biggest emphasis this year. The boys have been under me for two years, but we will definitely be making strides in this area.

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

A: Our goals for this year is to be competitive every night. The boys will push the ball hard and we believe will outwork a lot of teams.

CLIMAX SPRINGS COUGARS 

From Head Coach James Butterfield:

2019-20 Record/Finish: 19-9 with a loss to Fair Play in the district championship.

Moved or graduated athletes: Pake Moppin and Jessie McCartney graduated.

Top returners and any accolades: Junior Mark Henderson (First Team All-District) and seven returning lettermen.

Q: What are you looking forward to as your team returns for a brand new season?

A: Our goals this season are to compete every night and with our depth and athleticism, we believe we can do that.

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

A: Our guard play is a definite strength of this team. Mark is an All-State caliber player and he is definitely not alone. Dylan Dake is set to have a breakout season as well.

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

A: Our ultimate goal will be to win our district and play into March.

Camdenton senior Joel Mason.