Joel Braden enters the second season of his second stint as the head coach of the El Dorado Springs boys with some holes to fill from last year’s 8-17 team.
The Bulldogs lost a strong top two of Riley Boyd and Shane Trowbridge to graduation. Boys averaged 17.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Trowbridge averaged 11.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Also gone is classmate Brendan Reddick.
The good news is that three starters in juniors Shelby McKinney and Trey Babcock along with senior Kaiden Simmons do return.
McKinney will be the focus of the team on both ends of the floor after averaging eight points and 6.8 rebounds per game last season. The senior post is strong on the offensive boards according to Braden.
Babcock scored 4.3 points and had 2.8 rebounds per game last year. He brings a strong shooting touch to the team. Simmons is back after contributing 3.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game as a junior. He is an athletic defender and a strong shooter.
Seniors Landon Zartman, Brandon Hayes and Wyatt Graves along with junior Donovan Collins and sophomore Derek Hayes will be looked at for more production on varsity this season. The elder Hayes and Graves each played in at least 24 varsity games last year while the younger Hayes saw action in 11 varsity games as a freshman.
“We have had a lot of kids put in a lot of work over the summer to try to make sure that graduating our seniors does not cause us to regress,” Braden said. “We have a lot of kids that can contribute and we hope to use that to our advantage by playing more up-tempo and pressing more. Our main goal is to improve and continue to build the program.”
El Dorado Springs opens its season on Nov. 21 at Sherwood.