By Scott Vanscoy (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Pete Leonard enters his second year as the coach of the Hollister Tigers. His Tigers return all five starters from last year’s team that finished 8-18 a year ago. This season the Tigers will look to be competitive in every game, better their record from last year and win a tournament.
“A goal for our team this year is to win the close games in the fourth quarter,” said Leonard. “We want to bring a strong offensive presence but for our opponents to fear our defense.”
Senior Derek Morris was the most decorated of the returning starters as he was named to the second-team all-conference. Morris was also named to the All-District team and the All Tri-Lakes team. The 6’4” post /guard averaged 17 points while pulling down five rebounds per game. He will be one of Hollister’s main scorers but he will be asked to do more than put the ball in the bucket.
“Morris is a talented athlete who will be looked at to be a leader on the floor this year,” said Leonard.
Senior Landon Farquhar (5’10”) received Honorable Mention All-Conference in the Small COC. Farquhar was Hollister’s second leading scorer last season. He has worked this off-season to develop his inside and outside shooting, hoping to increase his scoring from the 9 points that he averaged last year.
“Landon is a great leader,” said Leonard. “He has had a good off season, working and preparing for this season. With his competitive spirit, he will only help bring the level of play up on our team.”
Two other seniors return this season to the Tigers’ lineup: Jackson Bekemeier (5’10”) and Jenner Steele (6’3”).
Bekemeier battled a knee injury after game three last year. He plays quarterback for Hollister’s football team and is a natural leader. Leonard will be counting on Bekemeier to use his athletic ability and hard work ethic when he is on the floor.
Steele is a big body inside who isn’t afraid to bang with other post players. He is very physical yet coachable player. The Tigers expect many good things from him in the paint this year.
Hollister will dress six juniors, three that started games for them last year. Logan Armitage, 6’0”, started every game last year, had a good off season and has developed a good outside shot. Armitage has worked on taking the ball to the basket and finishing.
“He is level headed and I look to him to contribute great things this season,” said Leonard.
Cameron Shook (6’0”) and Jesse Wright (5’10”) also started games last year.
“Cameron is a very hard worker that can guard and shoot anywhere on the floor,” said Leonard. “Jesse will assist in the back court this season. Jesse is hard-nosed and will guard any position we ask him to. We expect big things out them this season.”
Junior Bryan Calovich (6’3”) is coming back to Hollister after sitting out most of last season due to a football injury. He is back to 100% and Leonard expects big things from him this year. Junior Carter Krysl (6’3”) was new to the program last year and played mostly JV. The Tigers look for him to give quality minutes during varsity games this year. Logan Narvaez (5’11”), a junior, is a defensive specialist and will be counted on to shut down the opponent’s guards.
Presley David (5’8”), the lone sophomore on the Tigers’ roster, is a hard worker who will be competing for those hard-to-come-by varsity minutes.
Senior Payton Weber (5’9”), a newcomer to the Hollister program, is a very talented player who will be asked to handle the ball in the back court. “He has great court vision and is a very unselfish guard,” said Leonard. “He has a good basketball IQ and we are very excited to have him in a uniform this season.”
Playing in the COC Small division can be a challenge but Coach Leonard is preparing his team to meet that challenge.
“I am very pleased in the Hollister basketball program,” said Leonard. “Robbie Teaster has the best youth basketball league around and it is showing up into our middle school program. Our 8th graders this year are the first group to go through Robbie’s youth program. As a high school program I am very excited. This is my second year at Hollister and when I first got here as an assistant we had 13 kids total in the high school program. This season we are pushing numbers in the low 30s. The kids are excited about basketball and want to be a Hollister Tiger basketball player.”