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by Mark Cheffey
Last year’s Marion County R-II boys basketball team’s five win season was an improvement over the previous one, and Coach Reed Plunkett hopes this year’s squad continues the trend.
“Our hope is to continue to tread in the right direction this year,” said Plunkett of a team that features basically the same starting five as last year’s
“This group is excited about the potential to be more competitive than in recent years,” Reed said. “Overall the goal is to take another big step given the fact that we return so much from the improved team that we were a year ago.”
Going into the new season, Reed said the team is putting a focus on improving defensively and in their ability to attack the basket.
Preparing to do just that are senior, Root Cheney, juniors, Jackson Stewart and Wyatt Goldinger, and sophomores, Joey Lagemann, Porter Britt, Mason Wood, Caden Stotts, Levi Wright and Riley Baldwin, who are joined by freshman Nathan Wright, Wyatt Tuley, Gavin Handy, Paden Olson and Colton Swisher.
Cheney, a four-year varsity player, who Reed said has worked to improve his defense and decision making, will be counted on to help lead the team.
“We will lean on him to be a vocal leader, set the tone defensively and knock down open shots,” Reed said.
Stewart, a three-year starter, will be the team leader after having served as captain his sophomore year.
“He leads by example everyday with his effort and attitude,” Reed said. “We will look for him to be our anchor on defense and help handle the ball and score on offense.”
Reed said he is counting on Goldinger, a long winger/forward, to be a consistent threat on offense and help control the board defensively.
Lagemann was the team’s leading scorer last year as a freshman last season, so Reed hopes for more of the same.
“We will lean on Joey to be our point guard and get us in our offense sets,” Reed said. “We will also look for him to score consistently for us.
Stotts came off the bench a year ago and poured in three pointers when on the floor.
“We will look for him to knock down outside shoots, attack gaps and help us rebound the basketball,” Reed said.
Britt started most of the year as a freshman last season and was one of the team’s leading rebounders.
“We will look for him to continue to do that as well as provide us with an interior threat on offense,” said Reed who also expressed hope that Wood will become an important player after seeing limited action as a freshman last year.
“He has improved and gotten a lot stronger,” Reed said. “We will look for him to apply a lot of ball pressure and help handle the basketball for us.”
Districts were released Friday and Marion County was plaed iin Class 1, District 11 along with Atlanta, Bevier, Brashear, La Plata, North Shelby and Novinger.
The Mustangs opened the season Friday at Paris, but results were unavailable for this issue.
11/18 at Paris
11/22 at North Shelby
12/5-10 Monroe City Tourn.
12/15 Green City
12/16 at Scotland Co.
12/19 at LaPlata
1/6 at Novinger
1/10 Macon County
1/12 at Madison
1/16-21 N. Shelby Tourn.
1/27 Mark Twain
1/30 at Knox County
2/6-11 Brashear Tourn.