By Amanda Perkins
Last season, the Cabool Bulldogs improved upon their record by nine games over the previous season, eventually ending their run against Newburg in the district tournament. Graduating much of their starting cast, they now they look to five seniors to lead them.
“We finished the year 17-11 and graduated a solid group of seniors,” said coach Brad Shockley, who is in his fifth season at Cabool. “We only return 24 of our 62 points per game, and an even smaller fraction of our rebounding.”
The Bulldogs lose Tanner Barnes, a 6’2” four-year starter who will leave the biggest void for the team, as he was a threat on both ends of the court. Barnes was a versatile player who scored 20 points per game and averaged almost 10 rebounds. Duncan Green, the main post defender, also graduated. Green created match-up problems for opponents and was a threat inside and out. Dylan Medley, a 6’3” force who could hit the outside shot, and Logan Stillwell, the intense team motor, will also be missed.
Shockley looks to regroup by picking up the pace with his five seniors.
Jon Smith averaged 12.6 points per game last season, and the 5’10” senior will be relied upon again as the team’s sharp shooter. “He has deep range and shoots the ball well, connecting on 89 threes last year,” said Shockley. “He has gotten stronger and has improved his ball handling and ability to get to the rim. For us to have success, Jon needs to have a great year.”
Colten Hensley has worked on improving his game in the off-season, which should add to his 9.4 averaged points per game from last season. The 5’11” senior is a leader for the team with his intensity and effort. “Colten has the ability to get to the basket and score from long range,” said Shockley. “He is going to be asked to score more than he has in the past. Much like Jon, our success is riding on these guys.”
Bailey Williams will be the man in the paint, and the 6’1” senior has the potential to be a double-double man, according to his coach.
“If you like intensity, then you should like to watch this kid play,” said Shockley of Caleb Manning. The 5’9” senior is a competitor and expected to have a big season. “He’s maybe the hardest working kid I have ever coached. He brings fire to the floor every time he is on it,” said Shockley. “Caleb will draw the tough defensive match-up every night and on top of that, I need him to score this year.”
Logan Miller is the final senior, a tough defender who is quick and fearless and a hard worker. He is expected to assist in ball handling and guarding the ball.
Newcomers include 6’1” junior Tytus Atkins, who should add size to the lineup and assist in the paint and on the boards. Brett Vonallmen “has the potential to be a key component” according to his coach, as a 5’10” junior shooting guard who can drive to the basket and make a play. Junior Jordan Primazon “is a hard-nosed, hard-working kid that will bang around inside and has the ability to step out and hit the shot,” said Shockley.
Cabool’s returning players will have to adjust to new roles early on, but Shockley hopes they will settle in as quickly as possible.
“We are hoping to be able to push the tempo more this year than we have done in the past,” he said. “With our small size, we are going to try to really push the ball on offense, and defensively, try and pick up full court.”