For the Highland boys’ basketball team to maintain its recent success, including winning a KMAC title last year, they will have to overcome inexperience.
The team returns two letter-winners in Jordan Bellamy and Branton Howard, while graduating a large senior class that included Noah Dado, Ian Taylor, Mack Anglin, Chase Carpenter and Andy Wheeler.
“We lost a great deal of experience with guys graduating who played multiple years of varsity basketball,” said head coach Chris Powell. “We currently only have one senior in the program. While we aren’t a “small” team, we don’t have some of the traditional size inside that we have been lucky to coach the last couple of years.”
Powell said that Drew Santo, Wyatt Groves, Bryant Marcum and Garison Hankins will be key additions to the team, which he feels will be able to rely on depth and chemistry.
“This team is built with a tremendous amount of chemistry and teamwork,” he said. “We have a group of guys who are dedicated to playing hard and fighting for each other. We also have 10 guys that we feel will be able to contribute throughout the course of a game. We will look to use our depth and conditioning to play a full-court game and wear teams down throughout the duration of four quarters.”
Powell added that his players have put in a lot of work during the summer to get ready for the upcoming season.
“Our players have worked extremely hard this summer and fall to prepare for the upcoming schedule,” he said. “Our young team will need to come every day to practice ready to compete, learn and grow. We are excited about what our guys will bring to the table. We have seen tremendous growth in our fundamentals which will allow us to do a variety of things on the floor.”
In the KMAC, Powell looks at Northmor and Centerburg as the favorites, adding that Fredericktown also has a couple key young guys. He added that his team will be prepared for those league opponents, as they have a tough non-conference schedule.
“Conference play will be interesting, as many teams have key guys returning,” he said. “But we also know that there is young talent across the board and all KMAC teams will be ready to compete when league play starts.”